One opening-day showing sold out and a second one nearly did within three hours after tickets to the local premiere of the “Columbus” movie went on sale Monday afternoon at YES Cinema.

The sold-out showing is for 8:01 p.m. Sept. 1, and the 5:30 p.m. showing the same day nearly sold out, according to theater operators.

The movie is being shown on both screens of the downtown cinema, with one theater featuring 177 seats and the other 146.

A flurry of phone calls, including some from out of state, indicated that interest in the small-budget, big-publicity film is high, operators said.

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A line of prospective ticket buyers began forming at 11 a.m. Monday and stretched out the door by noon, when tickets for local “Columbus” showings went on sale, said Randy Allman, executive director of the Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Center that runs the venue.

“We’ve had more interest in this film so far than any other movie we have shown,” Allman said Monday afternoon.

“The King’s Speech,” shown in 2011 as a first-run release, had the longest stay of any YES film, running about three months, Allman said.

He expects “Columbus” to run on both of the theater’s screens for at least a week, and on one screen at least through September.

“Columbus” was filmed last summer with a small cast and crew mostly downtown from July 31 to Aug. 20 and included shoots at more than a dozen architecturally significant buildings in the city, ranging from City Hall to the Bartholomew County Public Library.

The movie focuses on a 19-year-old Columbus resident, played by Haley Lu Richardson, trying to decide whether to leave home and pursue her dreams as she cares for her mother, a recovering addict. She strikes up a friendship with a 29-year-old man, played by John Cho, visiting the city from Korea to be with his dying architect father. The father came to town on a getaway to study the city’s noted buildings.

The two main characters find respite in each other and in the Modernist architecture surrounding them, according to the movie’s promotional material.

Sheryl Nulph, a longtime local arts participant and supporter and member of the Historic Downtown Neighborhood Alliance, bought a block of 14 tickets Monday to one of the showings for her and other alliance members.

“This is really a special event for the community,” Nulph said, adding that she was impressed with the movie trailer. “It’s just exciting to see all the architecture being so well represented.”

Allman said that the film director who goes by the name of Kogonada is expected to attend two of the first-day screenings, and speak briefly afterward to viewers. He added that preliminary plans call for 26 members of the cast and crew to attend the sold-put 8:01 p.m. showing on Sept. 1.

A grant from The Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County plus financial support from Chevrolet of Columbus and the Balkum Group made it possible for YES to add software for online ticket purchases, which coincided with sales of “Columbus” ticket sales.

Tickets for all movies now YES are available online at yescinema.org.

Tickets for 'Columbus'

What: Tickets for the movie “Columbus,” with a broad range of showtimes starting Sept. 1.

Where: YES Cinema, 328 Jackson St., Columbus

Available: At yescinema.org; click on “Coming Attractions.”

Cost: $4 and $6, plus $1 fee when ordered online.

Information: 812-378-4YES or yescinema.org.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.