The release template concept is great, but the ability to assign tasks to these things is what helps get the work actually done. You can put a to-do into the release template, but when a release is instantiated on that template, all the to-dos have blank due dates. They should inherit dates from the phase (end date probably) or milestone.
The workaround is to go through each to-do in a new release and manually set the dates. This is a pain in a large org that releases every month.