Release Dates

Primary Release Date

The primary release date used on TMDb is automatically calculated by looking for the first release that meets the following criteria in this order:

  1. A "limited" or "theatrical" release
  2. A "premiere" release
  3. Any other release (digital, physical or TV)


The language field should be left blank by default as it is not meant to denote the language of the film.

It should only be used when necessary. It can used be denote the different language region releases in India, Switzerland or Canada. For example, when the original Telugu version and the Tamil dub of an Indian movie have different release dates.



For historical entries when only the year is known, the release date should be added as YEAR-01-01 (e.g. 1975-01-01).

For upcoming releases with an unknown release date, please don't add a release date. Accidental releases ahead of the film's scheduled release date should not be added.

Live performances

For content such as music concerts, theatre and stand-up shows, please use the date of the DVD, theater, digital release and/or TV broadcast instead of the date of the actual event.


Certifications are not retroactive. For releases that have no certification (e.g. a festival premiere), the field should be left blank.

Exceptions: In Canada, provinces/territories have their own classification and Quebec has a different classification system (e.g. the theater release of The Great Wall). Unfortunately, provincial ratings are not supported.

When an TV movie only has a TV certification (e.g. TV-14) and no MPAA certification, the certification field is either left blank or the MPAA equivalent can be used (e.g. PG-13).

Even if that is not quite correct, the NC-17 rating can be used for adult entries.



  • A premiere screening can take the form of a festival screening (e.g. TIFF) or a premiere event filled with the cast and crew in a big city (e.g. LA, London, Toronto).
  • Try to find the first public screening(s) of a film. Films often have many premieres: world premiere, international premiere, [continent] premiere, [country] premiere, [state/province] premiere, and [city] premiere. Premiere screenings are often marked as such on the festival's website.
  • Only a few countries have official premieres. Some movies do not have a premiere screening.
  • When a movie is screened at multiple festivals in the same country (or city), the subsequent festival screenings should also be added as premieres (even though they are not technically "premiere" screenings).
  • Only official, public screenings. No test screenings, press screenings, private screenings, preview screenings, sneak peek (partial) screenings, advance screenings or special advance screenings.
  • TV airings should be entered as TV type, not Premiere type.


  • Can be used for the original release and any subsequent official releases.
  • Used for wide or saturation releases. In the United States, 600-1,999 screens is considered a wide release and 2000+ is considered a saturation release.
  • If an old movie is remastered and re-released in theater or has a special anniversary release, it can be added. But if a family movie is screened as a Saturday morning movie or a Christmas movie is screened every year, it probably doesn't count.

Theatrical (limited)

  • Limited theatrical release is a film distribution strategy of releasing a new film in a few theaters across a country, typically in major metropolitan markets. In the United States, the number of theaters is fewer than 600.
  • Sometimes referred to as a platform release.


  • Includes all VHS, DVD and Blu-ray releases.


  • All and any relevant releases can be added including streaming platforms, VOD rental or purchase.
  • Digital screenings including online film festivals and virtual cinema releases also count as digital releases.


  • Only enter the first airing per country. As with theatrical releases, subsequent airings should only be added for remasters or special anniversary releases.
  • Add the airing Network in the notes.


The note should be in English and use appropriate capitalization.

It can be used to add relevant info relating to the release:

  • A festival e.g. Toronto International Film Festival
  • A city (for premieres and limited releases)
  • The physical release format (VHS, DVD and/or Blu-ray)
  • A special edition e.g. Blu-ray - Collector's Edition
  • A TV channel e.g. Hallmark Channel
  • The feature film a short film screened in theater was paired with
  • The streaming network if it's a digital only release e.g. Netflix

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