Pelham Premiere Evokes New York Subway Station—Lit in Pink, With Cuddly Rats

For the premiere of Columbia Pictures' The Taking of Pelham 123, organizers brought the feeling of a New York subway station to a Westwood party space.

By Alesandra Dubin June 8, 2009, 6:25 PM EDT

The Taking of Pelham 123 premiere

Photo: Line 8 Photography

In Columbia Pictures' The Taking of Pelham 123, hijackers seize control of a New York subway train. So the premiere arrivals and party on June 4 naturally evoked a New York look—complete with a subway car, signage, and rats—despite being 3,000 miles away from the site of the action depicted in the movie. The studio's Alison Bossert tapped 15/40 Productions to produce and design the arrivals and party.

A full street closure in front of the Village Theatre in Westwood allowed for the placement of an actual subway car on a raised deck in the middle of the 160-foot-long red carpet, so guests felt as though they were actually stepping onto a train platform as they walked the line. Other props like turnstiles and newspaper stands added to the M.T.A.-inspired feel.

Following the screening, guests moved down the street for a party in a converted parking lot. Black Astroturf with yellow and blue lines meant to evoke the iconic design of the subway map served as flooring under the party space. Token booths flanked the entrance, New York images shone on an 80-foot wall, and subway tiles covered a perimeter wall and bars. A second subway car anchored one corner of the party, and a newsstand another. Subway stops, benches, light boxes, LED panels scrolling the status of the lines, and more turnstiles scattered throughout contributed to the look.

Subway-tiled walls also bore signage showing real stops along the Pelham line in New York. The party's centerpiece was a raised round deck with a control station built into the center of a round bar that also housed the DJ. 15/40 wrapped a cylindrical structure rising out of the bar with a 360-degree image of all the subway lines crossing each other—just like the control panels that Denzel Washington's character uses to track the location of the standoff in the film.

Fortunately for guests, at least one detail was not as authentic as some of the others: Cuddly stuffed rats, scattered around the lounges to evoke New York's uninvited subway station residents, were available for guests to take home. 

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