It’s not often a nearly-decade-old movie makes it back into the iTunes movie charts, but pandemic thriller Contagion has achieved it, for the obvious reason. It is sitting at #12 at the time of writing …

The movie even anticipated fake news.

When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minneapolis from business in Hong Kong, what she thought was jet lag takes a virulent turn. Two days later, she’s dead in the ER and the doctors tell her shocked and grieving husband (Matt Damon) they have no idea why.

Soon more cases are reported as the virus begins to spread. Researchers mobilize to break the code of this unique biological pathogen as it continues to mutate.

Deputy Director Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) tries to allay the growing panic despite his own personal concerns, and must send a brave young doctor (Kate Winslet) into harm’s way.

As the death toll escalates and people struggle to protect themselves and their loved ones in a society breaking down, one activist blogger (Jude Law) claims the public isn’t getting the truth about what’s really going on, and sets off an epidemic of paranoia and fear as infectious as the virus itself.

Buzzfeed reporter Matt Stopera recently watched it and now wishes he hadn’t (contains a small spoiler about the opening of the movie).

The movie starts with a black screen and my least favorite genre of cough: deep and dry. And guess whose gross cough it is? Patient zero: Goop herself, Gwyneth Paltrow, and she’s munching on some peanuts and coughing all over the place at a Hong Kong airport.

We zoom in. The peanuts she’s eating are communal bar peanuts. They’re now contaminated. She hands her credit card to the bartender. Contaminated.

For the next two hours we get gratuitous zoom-ins on everyday objects with our grubby little human hands on them. An elevator button? Tainted. This cup of water? The new home to a deadly disease.

Producer Michael Shamberg told BuzzFeed that the movie was intended to be both accurate and a cautionary tale.

“It was very deliberately designed to be a cautionary film,” Shamberg told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview, noting the many experts who consulted on the movie. “We got the science right” […]

A spokesperson for Warner Bros, the film’s distributor, told BuzzFeed News that in addition to the movie’s number 10 spot on the iTunes charts, it’s currently at number 21 on Google Play and is trending on Amazon.

Across the entire collection of titles in the Warner Bros. catalog (i.e., films not considered new releases), Contagion was the 270th most-watched WB film in December. So far in 2020, it is the second most watched.

The coronavirus is not airborne, rather carried in water droplets from coughs and sneezes. However, the point about contaminated objects applies equally to this virus: it can survive a long time on hard surfaces. For anyone concerned, a more sensible precaution than face masks is to wear washable cotton gloves.

Contagion is available on iTunes, $3.99 rental, $9.99 purchase.

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