People are claiming Tangled, The Simpsons, Contagion, and more might have predicted Coronavirus

(Image credit: Warner Bros.Disney/Paramount/Netflix)

As various countries enter complete lockdown in a bid to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are turning to movies and TV shows for distraction. It doesn’t quite appear to be working, though, as movie-logging social media app, Letterboxd, has shared statistics showing a huge spike in viewers watching a pandemic movie from nearly ten years ago: Contagion. The 2011 film is even in the top ten charts on most streaming services, including iTunes and Google Play – seems that we can’t get enough of the apocalypse.

Amid coronavirus-anxiety, savvy film fans have posed the question: did Contagion predict the pandemic? The film boasts a star-studded cast, featuring the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, and Jude Law and is directed by Steven Soderbergh of Ocean’s Eleven fame. When a young woman returns home from Hong Kong with an unknown illness, it quickly spreads out of control until the world is in a global health crisis. The characters endure quarantines, looting, stockpiling, empty airports and train stations… sound familiar? 

As folks begin to analyse their watchlists, some viewers have begun claiming various movies predicted the outbreak. Edinburgh Evening News have even pointed to one very unlikely candidate: Tangled. With that, here are more of the movies and TV shows that people are claiming foretold the pandemic.

Tangled (2010)

(Image credit: Disney)

This 2010 Disney Princess tale tells the classic story of Rapunzel, a young princess locked away in a tower for eighteen years. The main similarity some fans have found here is that the Kingdom in which Rapunzel lives is called Corona. Corona + lockdown in a tower = good point. Though Rapunzels’s supposed quarantine led to her finding the love of her life, let’s hope at least one of us can say the same. Perhaps we'll see love in the time of coronavirus after all?

The Simpsons

(Image credit: Disney)

The Simpsons has certainly made a habit of telling the future, including Donald Trump’s presidency and the invention of the smartwatch, so it’s no surprise that fans have found an eerily similar 1993 episode depicting a global pandemic. In the season 4 episode, "Marge in Chains", the Osaka Flu travels from a Japanese packaging warehouse and infects most of Springfield’s residents. As the Coronavirus is said to have originated in Wuhan, China, this is one of the Simpsons less accurate 'predictions', but remains further proof that the show has eerie fortune-telling abilities.

My Secret, Terrius (2018)

(Image credit: Netflix)

In the tenth episode of this 2018 South Korean Netflix series, a Doctor explains his concerns about a flu-like virus that attacks the respiratory system. He says, “We must do more research, but it looks like a mutant coronavirus,” so of course the internet blew up. A later scene even shows a class of children being taught how to effectively wash their hands – although no one sings "Happy Birthday". The term coronavirus has been used for decades to describe various virus strains, so we’re not claiming My Secret Terrius has Simpsons soothsaying powers anytime soon.

World War Z (2013)

(Image credit: Paramount)

The Brad Pitt-starring World War Z might have taken things to fantastical extremes, but the outbreak started just the same. In the 2013 movie, Pitt plays a former United Nations employee now working to find a cure for a fast-spreading flu virus. But that’s not all. The virus, Solanum, first appears in China and then infects the world, turning its victims into sprinting zombies. Alongside the zombies attacking citizens and spreading further infection, in World War Z there is something called "The Great Panic", in which people take drastic measures to protect themselves. This includes stockpiling, quarantining, and even heading north amid rumours zombies can’t survive in the cold. Whilst this all sounds a little familiar, we’re sure that COVID-19 won’t go as far as zombies...

Turning to the movies for your escapism? Here are the best feel-good movies that you can stream at home right now.

Millicent Thomas

Millicent Thomas was once a freelance games and film journalist, writing for publications including GamesRadar, Total Film,,, Wireframe, Little White Lies, Culturess, SciFiNow, and more. She is now in international PR and marketing for Ubisoft.