The “Columbus” movie became the most popular film ever at YES Cinema by the end of its first week of screenings.
Opening Sept. 1 for its Columbus premiere, ticket sales have topped 6,500 — some of them purchased soon after advance sales began July 10.
“The King’s Speech,” which ran for nine weeks in 2011, was the previous YES Cinema favorite with 3,700 tickets sold, said Diane Doup of Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center, which operates the theater at Fourth and Jackson streets in downtown Columbus.
The independent “Columbus” film was shot in the city at more than a dozen architecturally significant structures last summer.
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 seriously ill architect/scholar father who had came to town to deliver an architectural talk.
The movie enjoyed 20 sellouts in its first week, YES staffer Ron Adams said. Showings of “Columbus” on both YES Cinema screens has been extended through this week.
The film’s leading actor, John Cho, said during the premiere weekend that he hoped “Columbus will take ownership of this film.”
At the time, the movie already had sold more than 3,000 tickets, including nearly every opening-day showing at the theater.
“We certainly realize that having (director) Kogonada, John Cho and (leading actress) Haley Lu Richardson here for the premiere was definitely a boon, and an encouragement for so many people to come and see it early,” Doup said. “However, we do anticipate strong ticket sales continuing. Some people who were out of town on Labor Day weekend are just now getting a chance to see it.”
One ticket buyer came from Los Angeles to take in the local architectural tour after hearing of the film. She also saw the movie at YES.
Nationally, the film continues to expand its success at the box office. Last week, according to Box Office Mojo, which tracks gross revenues, it finished in 43rd place for 29 venues, about where it has been since it opened in New York and Los Angeles Aug. 4.
Plus, it continues to be booked into additional art-house theaters nationwide. Columbusthemovie.com website shows that it currently is playing at 38 theaters across the country.
One new venue Friday includes the Harkins Valley Art theater in the Tempe/Phonenix, Arizona area, Richardson’s hometown, where she is scheduled to appear at question-and-answer sessions Friday and Saturday.
The actress recently posted a message on her Facebook page, encouraging people in her hometown “to see my favorite film I’ve ever been a part of.”