No Movie Named ‘The Omicron Variant’ Was Released in 1963; Altered Photo of Another Movie’s Poster Shared With Misleading Claim…

Altered Coronavirus COVID-19

The original poster of the film named “Phase IV” released in 1974 was digitally edited to create the viral poster. Becky Cheatle, who photoshopped the original poster, has clarified the same on Twitter.

On November 26, World Health Organization (WHO) designated the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 as a ‘variant of concern’ and named it Omicron. According to WHO, the first positive patient of the Omicron Covid-19 virus was reported from South Africa. 

After this, netizens started sharing a poster of a film with the title ‘The Omicron Variant’ with a claim that the movie came out in 1963. Users are claiming that the Omicron variant was predicted years before the virus was discovered in the world. The poster stokes conspiracy theories around the new variant of the Covid-19 virus, which is why the netizens claim that the pandemic was planned way before it’s time.

The caption of the image mentions, ‘Believe it or faint ..This film came In 1963 ..Check the tagline” (sic)

Facebook Post 

Indian film director and producer Ram Gopal Verma also posted this image with the same claim on his verified Twitter handle.

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Christian conservative and writer, Carmine Sabia also posted this film poster on his verified Twitter handle. 

https://twitter.com/CarmineSabia/status/1466110557866573832

Archive Link 

Fact Check-

We started our investigation by running a keyword search on Google to find a movie with the title as “Omicron” and found the results on IMDb. This movie released in 1963 is titled as “Omicron” whose description mentioned, “An alien takes over the body of an Earthman in order to learn about the planet so his race can take it over.”

However, we could not find any film titled as “The Omicron Variant”.

Next, we ran a reverse image search on Google, which led us to a tweet by Becky Cheatle, who clarified on Twitter stating that she had photoshopped the phase into few sci-fi posters. According to Becky’s bio, she is a co-writer/Director at Virgin Media Ireland.

The tweet reads as, “I Photoshopped the phrase “The Omicron Variant” into a bunch of 70s sci-fi movie posters #Omicron.”

In a second tweet, she clarified that the posters she created was just a spoof. She wrote, “Hi. It’s been brought to my attention that one of my posters is circulating on Spanish language Twitter as “proof” of a COVID hoax. It’s just a goof because I thought Omicron Variant sounded like a 70s sci-fi movie. Please do not get sick on account of my dumb joke. Thanks”

Taking a cue from the above mention tweet, we ran a keyword search on Google, which led us to a Spanish Language version of the original movie poster that was edited by Becky Cheatle. The original movie was poster was released in 1974 for a film titled as Phase IV. The Spanish title of movie read “Sucesos En La IV Fase”.

The description of the Sci-fi movie Phase IV as per IMDb reads, “Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the inhabitants. It is up to two scientists and a stray girl they rescue from the ants to destroy them.”

Below you can see a comparison image between the viral image on social media and the original poster of the movie named Phase IV.

We also came across another movie named “The visitor from Planet Omicron” whose description according to IMDb is as such, “An alien comes to earth with a botanical virus, but a gutsy Arizona widow wins him over with her garden-fresh cooking, and then tries to topple the corrupt government that put him up to it.”

We found that neither of the two movies has a plot that relates to the pandemic.

Conclusion-

Fact Crescendo found the viral image on social media to be digitally altered. The viral image is originally an edited poster of a film “Phase IV” released in 1974. The title of the film “The Omicron Variant” has been digitally added to the poster.

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Title:No Movie Named ‘The Omicron Variant’ Was Released in 1963; Altered Photo of Another Movie’s Poster Shared With Misleading Claim…

Fact Check By: Aavya Ray 

Result: Altered