Glossy Hollywood thrillers should never be treated as a window into the real world, but Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion turned out to be unfortunately prescient in a number of respects. The star-studded ensemble piece was a decent sized hit at the box office when it first reached theaters, raking in over $136 million on a $50 million budget and garnering solid reviews in the process, but it found a whole new lease of life at the turn of this year.
Sales began to spike at the end of January as the Chinese city of Wuhan locked itself down to prevent a new strain of virus from spreading, but nobody could have predicted that eleven months later, the Coronavirus pandemic would have changed life as we knew it. Indeed, if Contagion was making people feel uneasy at the beginning of 2020, it was sending them into a full-blown panic by the time it became one of the most popular titles in the Warner Bros. library in mid-March.
Jude Law admitted that having seen the levels of scientific accuracy that went into the script, he wasn’t surprised when a real-life pandemic gripped hold of the world and refused to let go, while Soderbergh has revealed in a recent interview that he’s in the early stages of developing a quasi-sequel alongside original writer Scott Z. Burns.
“I’ve got a project in development that Scott Burns is working with me on, that’s a kind of philosophical sequel to Contagion, but in a different context. You’ll look at the two of them as kind of paired, but they have very different hair colors. So, Scott and I were talking about, ‘So, what’s the next iteration of a Contagion-type story?’. So we have been working on that. We should probably hot-foot it a little bit.”
Whatever the duo come up with, it’ll definitely be vastly superior to Michael Bay’s dire Songbird, and while Contagion offered an eerie window into a rapidly-spreading global health crisis that was washed in a Hollywood sheen, there’s every chance the spiritual sequel could adopt a more realistic tone given what we’ve all experienced over the last ten or so months.