Written By:

What is Saturation Release? A Film Definition for Beginners

Whenever a film is prepared for distribution the filmmaker will typically make a plan for how the distribution will take place, what kind of marketing initiatives will be involved and what theaters or locations the film will be released in specifically. This is sometimes referred to as saturation booking or saturation release. Film definition options, particular that aim to provide a clear understanding of exactly what a term means must also deliver important details on background, too. In this definition of saturation release for beginners we’re going to not only provide the foundation for what is saturation release. But also key details regarding the background of the term as well.

camera crew filming on red camera

What is a Saturation Release?

The term saturation release references a particular distribution strategy that some filmmakers choose to follow. In which the primary goal is to recuperate the production costs of a film quickly.

And almost immediately after a film’s opening in theaters or through other distribution channels.

The idea of saturation release or saturation booking is to essentially fill all theaters and distribution channels available to the film with the upcoming release of the film. 


The first film that saw this form of marketing dates back to Jaws from 1975. Through the use of powerful advertising campaigns and pristine marketing coverage. 

Jaws would be a first in which not only would the producers release the film to a global market in the summer of 1975.

But also spend “the largest expenditure on advertising of a release in the history of the company”. And quite possibly for many companies of their time. 

The Definition

A saturation release, or saturation booking, represents a plan to release a film in multiple markets, potentially every market of the country, simultaneously.

The release is accompanied by an incredibly large marketing and advertising campaign.

The idea of saturation booking is to generate massive recognition for the film through advertising. Just before releasing the film in every market available. 

Saturation Release Film Definition

To define saturation release in film, first you must think about the term “Saturation” and then the term “release.” 

Saturation means “to the very full extent, beyond the point of regarded as necessary or desirable.” Likewise, release means “the action of making a movie available for general viewing or purchase.”

Therefore, a simple saturation release film definition should include something to the extent of:

“Making a movie available for general viewing or purchase to the very full extent possible. Beyond the point of which is necessary or desirable.”

In Summation

In short, a saturation release makes a film available in all markets, for general viewing, to the very fullest extent possible.

Filmmakers use saturation booking, or a saturation release, to distribute films to a mass market. And, before doing so, they push a heavily targeted advertising campaign.

To help boost recognition of the film before it is distributed. So that they can recuperate as much of the production costs as possible, as quickly as possible.

And that’s a simple saturation release film definition.