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Vancouver’s Rio Theatre cancels pandemic movie amidst current COVID-19 pandemic

You will no longer be able to watch Contagion in a Vancouver movie theatre
East Vancouver’s Rio Theatre had planned to screen Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 pandemic thriller Contag
East Vancouver’s Rio Theatre had planned to screen Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion this Friday. Now the theatre has suspended all screenings for the foreseeable future. Photo Warner Brothers

Anyone hoping to venture out of their bunker and watch Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion at a healthy distance from other movie goers will have to wait until the next pandemic.

This Friday, March 20, independent East Vancouver cinema the Rio Theatre had planned to screen the eerily prophetic, star-studded film about the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days and the worldwide medical community’s race “to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself.”

However, as concerns over COVID-19 (coronavirus) have spread, the Rio has decided to cancel all movie screenings for the foreseeable future.  

In a statement on its website, the operators of the Rio said: “Effective immediately, we will be temporarily dimming our lights and powering down the projector. Some events are being postponed, and others canceled — we will do our best to connect with ticket-holders and advise them of future plans as soon as they are made clear to us. In the meantime, stay safe out there! We’ll let you know when we’re able to start buttering your popcorn again, and we look forward to seeing you then. We’re gonna get through this, people! Until then, lots of love from everyone at the Rio.”

Rio’s announcement coincides with cinemas across the city, including the Cinematheque, Vancity Theatre and all Cineplex theatres, suspending screenings during the current pandemic.

Contagion’s resurgence in popularity has been noticed by media outlets around the world. Earlier this month, the New York times noted that Warner Bros. had the film listed as No. 270 among its catalog titles at the end of December, but since the start of 2020, it has jumped to second, just below its Harry Potter movies. Currently, Contagion is the third most downloaded movie on iTunes.