UK distributor Optimum Releasing has picked up Japanese animation hit Spirited Away and Igby Goes Down, the US black comedy starring Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes and Jeff Goldblum.

Optimum acquired UK rights to Spirited Away from Wild Bunch Exception. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the co-winner of last year's Golden Bear was the biggest film ever in Japan, racking up more than $230m. Igby Goes Down, which marks Optimum's ninth collaboration with MGM, follows a rebellious 17 year-old at war with the world of privilege he was born into.

"I am delighted that we have acquired these titles as they represent a significant development in the scale of film that the company is handling, reflecting Optimum's growth as a business," said Will Clarke, managing director.

Optimum, which is currently in talks to sell a minority stake to producer Jeremy Thomas, has a 2003 slate including American indies Rodger Dodger, XX/XY and Real Women Have Curves. Also in the pipeline for this year are German films Nowhere In Africa and Mostly Martha, along with Timecode, Touch Of Zen, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and Kurt & Courtney.