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Spirited Away (Japanese: 千と千尋の神隠し, Hepburn: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, "Sen and Chihiro's Spiriting Away") is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network, Dentsu, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Tohokushinsha Film and Mitsubishi and distributed by Toho. The film stars Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Takeshi Naito, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Tsunehiko Kamijō, Takehiko Ono, and Bunta Sugawara, and tells the story of Chihiro Ogino (Hiiragi), a sullen 10-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighborhood, enters the spirit world. After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba (Natsuki), Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba's bathhouse to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to
Miyazaki wrote the script after he decided the film would be based on the 10-year-old daughter of his friend, associate producer Seiji Okuda, who came to visit his house each summer. At the time, Miyazaki was developing two personal projects, but they were rejected. With a budget of US$19 million, production of Spirited Away began in 2000. Pixar director John Lasseter, a fan of Miyazaki, was approached by Walt Disney Pictures to supervise an English language translation for the film's North American release. Lasseter hired Kirk Wise as director and Donald W. Ernst as producer of the adaptation. Screenwriters Cindy Davis Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt wrote the English language dialogue, which they wrote to match the characters' original Japanese language lip movements.
The film was theatrically released in Japan on 20 July 2001 by distributor Toho, and became the most successful film in Japanese history, grossing over $289 million worldwide. The film overtook Titanic (at the time the top-grossing film worldwide) in the Japanese box office to become the highest-grossing film in Japanese history with a ¥30.4 billion total. Spirited Away received universal acclaim, and is frequently ranked among the greatest animated films ever made. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards, making it the only hand drawn and non-English language animated film to do so; the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival, tied with Bloody Sunday; and is in the top 10 on the British Film Institute's list of "Top 50 films for children up to the age of 14".
In 2016, it was voted the fourth best film of the 21st century as picked by 177 film critics from around the world, making it the highest ranking animated film on the list. It was also named the second "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far" in 2017 by the New York Times.