The film was a co-production between United Artists and Lions Gate Films. It was commercially distributed by United Artists theatrically and by MGM Home Entertainment for home media. As an independent film, it had an initial limited release in theaters; but it was nominated for multiple awards, including Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. The film also won a number of awards including those from the Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals. On January 11, 2005, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released by the Commotion label. It features songs written by several recording artists including Wyclef Jean and Deborah Cox. The film score was composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams, Andrea Guerra, and the Afro Celt Sound System.
Hotel Rwanda premiered in theaters in limited release in the United States on December 22, 2004 and in wide release on February 4, 2005 grossing $23,530,892 in domestic ticket sales. Becoming a moderate financial success, the film received critical praise before its initial screening in cinemas. The widescreen DVD edition of the film featuring the director's audio commentary among others, was released in the United States on April 12, 2005.