Walt Disney Studios is launching its own distribution operation in Hong Kong, effective March 1, ending a long-standing relationship with local outfit Intercontinental Film Distributors.

The first solo release from Disney in Hong Kong will be I Am Number Four, the first Disney-distributed DreamWorks title, on March 3.

“In line with the company’s overall focus on franchises and maximising franchise-able opportunities, this move will better enable us to take advantage of both internal and external synergistic opportunities arising from the very strong and diverse slate of product from the Walt Disney Studios over the next few years,” said a Disney spokesperson.

Intercontinental will continue to sub-distribute titles from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation, along with its own acquisitions such as upcoming titles Umizaru 3D and 1778 Stories Of Me And My Wife.

Intercontinental also owns the MCL cinema circuit. Japan’s Kadokawa group acquired a majority stake in the company in 2005.