‘Pelham’ aims to cure ‘Hangover’

'Terminator' expected to win sesh overseas

Warner Bros. comedy “The Hangover” and Disney-Pixar’s “Up” are still imbibing plenty at the domestic B.O., enough to pose trouble for new entries “Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” and Eddie Murphy comedy “Imagine That.”

Sony takes Tony Scott’s remake “Pelham,” starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta, out in 3,074 runs. The R-rated remake is the first adult-skewing action drama of the summer.

“Imagine,” rated PG, opens in 3,000 runs. Paramount has modest expectations for the film, which is targeted to moms and young girls.

Overseas, Sony’s “Terminator Salvation” is expected to win the sesh as it widens its reach to China, where it opened on Tuesday to an impressive $1.6 million from 1,671 prints — the most ever in any single foreign territory. Film’s foreign cume was $118 million through Wednesday.

Domestically, either “Hangover” or “Up” could beat “Pelham,” which should open in the mid-20s.

Todd Phillips’ “Hangover” has quickly become the sleeper hit of the summer, opening to $45 million last weekend and enjoying record business during this week. Film has scored the best weekday numbers ever for an R-rated pic, grossing $7.7 million on Monday, $6.6 million Tuesday and $6.7 million on Wednesday for a cume of $65.9 million.

“Up” has been equally as tenacious since debuting May 29. The 3-D toon ended its second frame in a photo finish with “Hangover,” and also has seen sizzling weekday grosses. Through Wednesday, pic’s cume was $151.5 million.

R-rated “Pelham” is based on the 1974 film, which was adapted from John Godey’s tome of the same name.

Gritty storyline is about a crew of criminals who take over a New York subway train and hold passengers hostage. Travolta plays the ringleader; Washington, the washed-up subway dispatcher who plays hostage negotiator. Sony says Travolta hasn’t been available to do much press for the film because of the recent death of his son.

Murphy’s “Imagine” follows a man who has little time for being a father until his career hits a wall, and he finds solace in an imaginary world created by his daughter.

“Imagine” likely won’t open above $10 million, but Par says the picture should have a profitable run, since it cost just under $55 million to produce. Film was produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s Di Bonaventura Pictures.

Murphy’s family comedy “Meet Dave” was one of the biggest misfires of summer 2008. The Fox film opened to a dismal $5.3 million on its way to cuming just $11.8 million domestically.

On the specialty side, openers include Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tetro,” which bows in two runs. Coppola wrote and directed the drama, which revolves around two brothers and their rivalries. Film is set in Buenos Aires and stars Vincent Gallo and Alden Ehrenreich.

Sony Pictures Classics takes Brit sci-fi suspenser “Moon” out in eight runs in L.A. and Gotham. Pic, toplining Sam Rockwell, is about an astronaut living on the far side of the moon who can only send taped messages home.

Shadow Distribution opens docu “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love” in three runs in Gotham. Film is about the Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour, the Grammy-winning artists whose music was banned in his native country. Peter Gabriel narrates the documentary, which was directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely.

Regent’s “Sex Positive,” about hustler-turned-AIDS activist Richard Berkowitz, goes out in two runs.

Cinema Libre releases Jean-Jacques Beineix’s French pic “Betty Blue: The Director’s Cut” in one theater in New York. Slowhand’s skateboard pic “Street Dreams” opens in one theater in L.A.