Many studios including Dreamworks and MGM passed on this film. Fox finally agreed when Ben Stiller reduced his salary to well under $1 million. As of March 2005, the film has grossed over $124 million when it only cost $23 million to make.
The DVD contains a fake commentary where the director and two main actors do nothing but fight, and claim to hate each other, before storming out 40 minutes on. The commentary is then replaced with the commentary for There's Something About Mary (1998). The real commentary is on the DVD as an easter egg.
EASTER EGG: On the Special Features section on the DVD, if you click on the Globogym logo at the bottom, you will see a short video with White Goodman talking about easter eggs on the DVD. He tells you that if you press enter every time he snaps his fingers you'll see an easter egg. These "Easter Eggs" are deleted scenes not included with those in the Special Features. There are 4 White Goodman finger snaps in the movie. The first comes as he gets into the tanning bed, the next when he sends the lawyer out of his office, the next as he motions for Me'shell to pick him up from Kate's porch, and the last when He motions Me'shell to give him the contract for Peter to sign at the hotel room in Vegas.
When the Average Joes are in the locker room waiting for their teammates before the final match, all the players are wearing pants except Christine Taylor who is wearing shorts. Listening to the DVD commentary you hear that she had pants but refused to wear them because she thought they were too ugly and unflattering.
Patton Oswalt did the Foley work (voice) for the scene where Ben Stiller is having his 'private time' "...with sour cream on top..." He also voices the video store clerk calling about the three overdue videos at the beginning of the film.
David Hasselhoff's brief cameo as the German team coach is a reference to Hasselhoff's status as a million-selling popstar in Germany. His character throws down a framed promo photo of himself in Baywatch (1989).
Patches O'Houlihan says, "It's like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob." - a reference to "It's like watching a monkey trying to hump a football.", something 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Coach Herb Brooks said to his team when they were preparing for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY.
Another easter egg/finger snap is after the scene in White Goodman's office where he asks Kate out. He snaps for Me'shell. When you press enter, it cuts to a clip of the dodgeball game and then a fat Ben Stiller says, "You found it."
Norm MacDonald can be seen in some of the Globo Gym scenes. One is in the Globo Gym commercial. He is in the background working out. At one point he is talking to some girl who is working out and it looks like he's hitting on her.
According to the Globo Gym commercial at the very beginning of the movie, the story supposedly takes place in 1993. When White says he's not only the founder of Globo Gym, but he's also a client. A picture of White is then shown with White's name and the year 1987, while White continues to narrate the commercial he says: "This was me - 6 years and 600 pounds ago..."
Patches O'Houlihan's jacket features unit patches for a number of U.S. Army units, some of which are: I Corps, 16th Military Police Brigade (missing Airborne tab), 75th Infantry Division, 103rd Infantry Division, and U.S. Army Special Forces (missing Airborne tab; patch is also sewn on upside down).
The song that was playing during the introduction of the first team that Average Joe's played (The Girl Scouts) is the same song that is played during the introduction of the last match (when they played Globo Gym)
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The words "Deus Ex Machina" are printed on the side of the treasure chest at the end of the movie. "Deus Ex Machina" is a Latin phrase meaning "god from the machine," and is derived from a plot device in ancient Greek drama by which a "god" was lowered to the stage by a crane ("machine") to solve a problem which the human characters could not. It's used to describe an improbable event bringing a solution to a seemingly impossible problem. The "deus ex machina" in this film takes place when Peter bets on Average Joe's to win the final tournament by using the bribe money White paid him, then using his winnings from the bet to buy the majority stocks of Globo-Gym, thereby becoming the owner of both Average Joe's and Globo-Gym.
In the end of the movie, ESPN 8 announcer Cotton McKnight says "Do you believe in unlikelihoods? Yes!" This comment is a play on the famous exclamation by Al Michaels when the USA beat Russia in hockey at the 1980 Olympics, "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!".
The DVD contains a fake alternate ending where Average Joe's loses the final match and the film goes to the credits as the announcer exclaims that they are going home with absolutely nothing. This was apparently sacked after test audiences were unhappy with the original ending (Globo Gym wins).
At the end of the movie when White Goodman commits a foot foul, his diatribe about being out here and working his butt off and the ref making a poor call like the one he made is meant to mock the similar diatribe made by Jimmy Connors at the 1991 U.S. Open when he said, "I'm out here at 39 years old working my butt off and you make a call like that!"
In the climactic scene of the final Dodgeball match TV announcer Cotton McKnight uses the term "Down goes Goodman! Down goes Goodman!" This is a reference to Howard Cosell's famous call from the Heavyweight 1973 championship fight between George Foreman and Joe Frazier in which he yelled, "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!"
After the credit, when the extremely obese White does a little dance to Kelis' Milkshake song, it's a reference to viral video clip that circulated on the Internet of an extremely large black woman doing the same dance.