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Contagion becomes one of most-watched films online in wake of coronavirus pandemic

Prescient film is currently second most popular Warner Bros film online

Jacob Stolworthy
Sunday 15 March 2020 17:15 GMT
Contagion - UK Trailer

Drama film Contagion has seen a huge spike on download sites amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Released in 2011, the film – directed by Stephen Soderbergh and written by Scott Z Burns – tells the story of a fictional illness that kills 26 million people worldwide.

Warner Bros, who distributed the film, has now announced that the film is currently the most in demand film in its catalogue behind the Harry Potter franchise.

For comparison, the film was ranked as its 270th most popular film in December 2019 before coronavirus had spread around the world.

Film directors Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) both told their Twitter followers they had watched the film as world leaders urged citizens to isolate themselves indoors.

At the time of writing, thousands have caught the disease with health secretary Matt Hancock saying the elderly could be quarantined for a period of up to four months in the coming weeks as a precautionary measure to protect lives.

Italy and Spain have gone in lockdown while the US borders have banned all flights to and from the country.

“I paid $12.99 to watch a 10-year-old movie,” Jenkins later told The New York Times. “I’ve never done that before.”

He added: “It felt like I was watching a documentary that has all these movie stars playing real people.”

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Meanwhile, Wright wrote: “I’d say that it’s a good film to watch right now as, though it’s bleak and sobering, it offers a glimmer of hope at the end.”

Contagion is currently trending on both Amazon Prime and iTunes and is in the top four most downloaded films on certain torrent sites.

The film’s high-profile ensemble cast includes Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Ehle.

As the coronavirus situation intensifies around the world, many are pointing to TV shows and books that have seemingly predicted several things correctly.

A book that recently made headlines for seemingly predicting the outbreak is Dean Koontz’s Eyes of Darkness, while another – released in 2008 – went viral for saying an illness would spread globally “around 2020”.

The Simpsons has also been highlighted for its accurate depiction of a global pandemic, while a clip from British sitcom Yes Minister went viral for mirroring the response of the British government.

Coronavirus has also seen many film and TV productions shut down after Trump declared a “national emergency”. Find a full list of everything affected by the pandemic here.

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