1. Limited release is a term in the American motion picture industry for a motion picture that is playing in a select few theaters across the country (typically in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco).
A limited release is often used to gauge the appeal of specialty films – especially of documentaries, independent films and art films. A common practice by major film studios is to give highly anticipated and critically acclaimed films a limited release in December in New York and Los Angeles in order to qualify them for an Academy Award nomination, as set out by the rules outlined by the Academy. These films would often receive a wider release later in January or February.
Yet a new meaning may come to the term Limited Release as an upcoming DVD and Video On Demand experiment will see films released on the these platforms after only a month or so in theaters. This means that the term would refer to the month long theatrical release in Canada and the United States, as opposed to films just released in Los Angeles and New York.