March 24, 2020 / 9:45 PM / 12 days ago

False claim: Film depicting pandemic outbreak scheduled for 2020

Posts circulating on social media make the claim that a film depicting the outbreak of a pandemic is scheduled for a release in September or sometime in 2020 ( here ).

The claim comes amid a global coronavirus outbreak that has infected over 372,000 people globally and left over 16,000 dead as of March 24, 2020 ( here ).

The claim implies there is a correlation between the global coronavirus outbreak and the film’s depiction of a global pandemic. Some posts hint at a conspiracy of previous knowledge about the possibility of a pandemic occurring on the same year as the film’s release.

The posts are accompanied by a dramatic trailer about the spread of a flu-like pandemic that sows chaos globally as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention struggles to find a cure.

These claims are inaccurate. The trailer that accompanies the posts is not for an upcoming release but of “Contagion”, a film released on September 9, 2011 and directed by Steven Soderbergh ( ).

The film’s brief description on IMDB says: “Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a pandemic as the CDC works to find a cure.”

The Los Angeles Times reported the recent coronavirus outbreak has prompted a resurgence of this film’s popularity ( here ).

According to the Times, Scott Z. Burns, the movie’s screenwriter, “conducted months of in-depth research into the science of pandemics” and recruited several well-known epidemiologists to develop a realistic plot”. Perhaps for this reason, the outbreak of coronavirus has elicited comparisons to the film, including by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow who played the protagonist in the 2011 film ( here ).


False: Trailer promotes film “Contagion”, a 2011 film on the outbreak of a fictional pandemic, not an upcoming release

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work here .

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