Pandemic movie 'Contagion' is back in movie rental charts following coronavirus outbreak

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Kate Winslet in Contagion (Credit: Warner Bros)

The 2011 movie Contagion is re-appearing in movie rental charts in the UK and the US, in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China.

Steven Soderbergh's terrifying thriller, which was inspired by the 2003 SARS epidemic and the 2009 flu pandemic, tracked the spread of a deadly virus from discovery through its global spread to, finally, a vaccine being created.

But not before the fictional deaths of 26 million people worldwide 26 days after the virus's discovery, followed by instances of social disorder and widespread societal breakdown.

Contagion (Credit: Warner Bros)

Why people would wish to revisit the movie now remains a mystery, but yesterday it emerged from obscurity to climb into the number 10 slot in the iTunes movie rental chart in the US (though it's since dropped down a few places to number 15).

Some UK charts are placing the movie in a considerably higher spot than would be expected for a movie that's nearly a decade old, one placing it at 35 and another even higher at 21.

The virus, said to have originated in a live animal market in China's seventh biggest city, which at over 11 million people has a population larger than London, has killed more than 100 people.

Read more: Coronavirus ‘spreading quicker than Sars’

A further 4,500 cases have also been confirmed, with British nationals who are returning from the city now set to be quarantined for 14 days.

The Foreign Office is now warning against all but essential travel to China, with British Airways having already suspended all flights.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Contagion (Credit: Warner Bros)

In Soderbergh's movie, it's discovered in the final scenes that the virus was initially spread from a bat, disturbed by jungle clearance, which drops infected food into a pig pen.

Gwyneth Paltrow's businesswoman later becomes the virus's 'patient zero'.