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.
Via ABC and Deadline
Right now, everyone is looking for some kind of reprieve from being locked up at home due to the spread of the coronavirus across the United States. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon, but The Office executive producers Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman think they’ve figured out a way to make light of the situation by crafting a new workplace comedy series inspired by the sudden rise in employees working from home due to the outbreak of coronavirus forcing people to practice social distancing.
Deadline was first to learn of the currently untitled coronavirus comedy series, though it’s not necessarily about the pandemic. Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman, better known to The Office fans as the frequently maligned Toby Flenderson and one of Jim’s business partners at their company Athlead, are creating the series that is said to focus on “wunderkind boss who, in an effort to ensure his staff’s connectedness and productivity, asks them all to virtually interact and work face-to-face all day.”
The series is in the works at Big Breakfast, the comedy production banner Silverman runs, where he’ll executive produce the series along with and Luke Kelly-Clyne College Humor and Kevin Healey Scare Tactics. They’ll also be working with Howard Owens’ Propagate Content, which will have Rodney Ferrell serving as an executive producer as well.
Silverman, who was also once an NBC executive, explained the inception of the series and his hope for what it will become:
“So many of us are jumping on daily Zoom meetings — for work and beyond. We are in a new normal and are personally navigating ways to remain connected and productive at work and in our home lives. With the brilliant Paul Lieberstein at the helm, we think we have a series that not only brings humor and comfort during this troubling time but will also be an inventive and enduring workplace comedy for years to come.”
While the prospect of trying to craft a series around the coronavirus outbreak sounds like a bad idea at this time, there’s no indication that the pandemic will actually play a part in the overall concept of the series. In fact, it would be easy to pull something like this off without introducing such a grim plot device.
What I’m envisioning with this series is a show with a format that echoes what we’ve seen accomplished with movies like Unfriended and Searching. Both of those films play out entirely on computer or mobile device screens and successfully tell a solid narrative. Modern Family did something similar with an episode that unfolded across the ensemble cast’s various screens, and it worked pretty well. But if that’s what this series will be like, can that concept be sustained for an entire series? Or will they need to take...
Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert are to host a major television event to help end COVID-19 airing across NBC, ABC and CBS as well as a number of international networks.
The trio will front One World: Together at Home featuring a slew of A-list stars on Saturday April 18 between 8pm and 10pm. The event, which is curated by Lady Gaga, has been put together by social action platform Global Citizen and the World Health Organization.
It builds on a series of live online concerts, organized by Global Citizen, where stars such as OneRepublic, Coldplay's Chris Martin and John Legend have performed at home.
The global entertainment special will celebrate the efforts of community health workers and promote the fight to end the global pandemic. It will feature multimillion-dollar pledges to the WHO's Solidarity Response Fund.
It will feature appearances by Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan, Stevie Wonder and friends of Sesame Street.
It will be produced by The Voice and Songland exec producer Audrey Morrissey and her production company Live Animals in partnership with Global Citizen.
In addition to NBC, ABC and CBS, it will air on BBC One as well as Disney, NBC and Viacom stations around the world. The full list of broadcasters includes Bravo, E!, MSNBC, NBCSN, NBC News, NBC News on YouTube, Peacock, Syfy, USA, ABC News, ABC News Live, Freeform, Nat Geo, Channel 5 in the UK, Network Ten in Australia, and Telefe in Argentina, BET and MTV globally across more than 180 countries, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1 in the US as well as Bell Media platforms in Canada, MultiChoice, and Ireland's RTE.
It will also stream online via a number of platforms including China's Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Hulu, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube.
Money raised will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, run by the UN Foundation, to support and equip healthcare workers around the world, and to local charities that provide food, shelter, and healthcare to those that need it most.