The spread of the novel coronavirus has continued apace, forcing many industries to change and even cancel plans for fear of exacerbating its spread. Hollywood is one such industry hit hard; it was revealed Wednesday that No Time to Die, the 25th Bond film, was moved from April to November. Meanwhile, there’s been one silver lining, of sorts: Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s star-studded pandemic thriller from 2011, is suddenly back on the charts after almost ten years.
As per ABC, the movie — which follows the efforts to contain a virus that, well, um, originated in China — has become a hit once more. Since late January, it’s occupied the Top 10 on iTunes, usually hanging in or around the number eight slot. Meanwhile, Deadline reports that it’s the most watched movie in the Warner Bros. library after the Harry Potter films. For some perspective, in 2019 Contagion ranked at number 270.
Contagion stars [deep breath] Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston, Elliott Gould, and, as patient zero, Gwyneth Paltrow. Back in 2011, Soderbergh described it as a ’70s Irwin Allen disaster movie but played straight, depicting the near-collapse of the global village in a detached, sober fashion, which is arguably scarier anyway.
Nine years ago, Contagion performed well at the box office, though its $75 million domestic take didn’t exactly make up for its $60 million budget. Sadly it took an actual global pandemic to finally become the talk of the town.
Also back in the news is Dean Koontz’s 1981 The Eyes of Darkness, about the spread of a virus called (wait for it) “Wuhan-400,” so named because of the Chinese city from which it originated. That wasn’t the name of the disease in the novel’s original edition, in which it was called “Gorki-400” after the Russian city. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the publisher changed the origin nation to China, and happened to pick Wuhan.