Those who missed seeing SPIRITED AWAY in its brief, limited theatrical release in the U.S. have a new chance to see the Oscar-winning animated masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki starting Friday, March 28, 2003. Buena Vista Pictures is releasing it to roughly 700 theaters (a Disney spokesperson said a final count will be available Thursday), leading up to its release on VHS and DVD on April 15. Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement, " The film is far and away the most successful film to ever play in Japan and it has always been our desire to share this film with the widest possible audience here in the U.S. With this important Oscar recognition, the film will have the additional awareness and appeal needed to find a welcome reception. All of us at Disney are extremely proud to have had three of this year's nominees in the Best Animated Feature category and to have played a part in bringing the award-winning SPIRITED AWAY to moviegoers." SPIRITED AWAY, one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2002 and was selected by many leading journalists as one of their top 10 films of last year. Japan's biggest box office hit to date and the only Japanese film to win an Academy Award in full-length film category, the film has received the Annie Award from ASIFA-Hollywood and the Golden Bear Award from the Berlin Film Festival. It was also named best animated film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review. The fantasy/adventure tale animated by Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli follows the quest of 10-year-old Chihiro, who must fend for herself as she encounters strange spirits, assorted creatures and a grumpy sorceress who seeks to prevent her from returning to the human world. Miyazaki is one of the most highly regarded directors/animators/comic artists in Japan and by U.S. filmmakers. Some of his other films include LAPUTA: CASTLE IN THE SKY (1986), MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988), KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE (1989), PORCO ROSSO (1992) and PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997).