‘Cocaine Bear’: Release Date, Cast, Plot, and Everything We Know So Far

As an audience member in the modern-day of cinema, it can seem almost too easy to find our next screen fix. With a plethora of acting talent and a multitude of production companies that tend to team up more often than not, choosing the next film to watch can often be a passive experience. With the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe dominating modern media, and with there seemingly always being a new installment to watch, it can take a particularly gripping title to take our gaze off the superhero saga. One of these titles is the upcoming 2023 release Cocaine Bear. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the film already stands out from her credibility alone although, instantly, thousands of potential fans have simply read the title and, at once, been hooked. From the film’s original announcement on May 9, 2021, until now, there has been a need to delve into just what inspired such an intriguing title. Audiences worldwide will be desperate to finally see this story hit screens, but, in the meantime, here is a comprehensive look at exactly everything we know about Cocaine Bear… so far.


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What Is Cocaine Bear About?

Keri Russell hiding from the Cocaine Bear in Elizabeth Banks' Cocaine Bear
Image via Universal Pictures

Considering the enormous amount of writing talent that swims in our worldwide creative lake it can often be surprising when, beyond documentaries, we learn of a particular tale being true. However, sometimes the best and most ludicrous stories can only be the work of reality, and Cocaine Bear is one such narrative. Of course, exact details regarding the originality of the plot are yet to be seen but, with a true story as incredible as this one, it would be fair to suggest the writers may stay true to life.

The tale of Cocaine Bear dates back to an incident in December 1985. A notorious and previously convicted drug smuggler, who also happened to be a former narcotics officer, was piloting a plane when he realized his cargo was far too heavy. In an attempt to lighten his load, he dropped a duffel bag full of cocaine out of the plane. The pilot, Andrew C. Thornton II, then decided to chase after his fallen goods but, upon attempting to open his parachute, failed and plummeted to his death below. This may already seem like a wild tale, but it is truly only the beginning. The duffel bag of cocaine, worth almost fifteen million US dollars, then fell into the hands of a 175-pound American black bear who decided to consume it. The narrative of the film is likely to follow the events of the bear who, under this incredible influence, went on a drug-fueled killing spree. The rest of the story, due to its non-fiction nature, has been well documented, however, to avoid any potential spoilers for the film it may be wise to leave the tale at that juncture.

Is There a Trailer for Cocaine Bear?

With a story this enticing, it may take the viewing of the trailer to solidify just how crucial seeing this film will be. Luckily, the trailer has dropped and can be viewed below:

Clearly, the emphasis on comedy is going to stand out in this film, with the trailer highlighting some hilarious moments. As well as this, some rudimentary horror techniques, like jumpscares, are implemented to add more dynamism to an already gripping tale. The CGI of the bear is impressive, with some incredible moments of cinematography that only add to the list of reasons why this movie must be seen. With a trailer, this tantalizing, fans are understandably excited about the upcoming release.

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When Is Cocaine Bear Coming Out? Will It Be in Theaters?

Alden Ehrenreich and O'Shea Jackson Jr in Elizabeth Banks' Cocaine Bear
Image via Universal Pictures

When deciding how to release a film, production companies have a choice. They can either stagger the release so that, geographically, it takes time to reach its universal audience, or they can release it on one date worldwide. Thankfully, Universal Pictures has chosen to release the movie worldwide on one day. This date is February 24, 2023, which, although seemingly far away, will come around very quickly. The film will also be hitting theaters, with a story of this magnitude definitely needing to be seen on the big screen.

Who Is In Cocaine Bear?

Ray Liotta in Elizabeth Banks' Cocaine Bear
Image via Universal Pictures

With a story this entertaining and with successes bound to match, it will come as no surprise to learn that Cocaine Bear has managed to pull in quite the array of talent in regard to the cast. Of course, with any given project, it can be crucial to get great names on board to ensure the marketability of the film. Cocaine Bear plays host to a plethora of acting talent, including the likes of Margo Martindale, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Keri Russell, Christian Convery, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Brooklyn Prince, Scott Seiss, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Shane Connellan, and Kahyun Kim.

However, there is one standout addition to this movie’s ensemble that, in recent times, has become particularly poignant. On May 26, 2022, the news broke that acting royalty Ray Liotta had passed away at the age of 67. His filmography is as great as any and his legacy in the world of cinema will live on embodied by his legendary characters. He will be fondly remembered by many as Henry Oak in Narc, Ray Sinclair in Something Wild, and, of course, his incredibly acclaimed turn as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese‘s Goodfellas. His addition to the Cocaine Bear cast was a great one, and certainly, fit his immensely busy acting schedule at the time. There was a great buzz around what part he would play in the film, however, following the tragic happenings in May, the film has taken on a new role. Cocaine Bear will now forever be known as the last film of the late great Ray Liotta and, for many who will travel to the cinema to watch it, won’t just act as cinema escapism into a well-told narrative, it will be a final goodbye to one of the greatest to ever do it. Cocaine Bear on its own seems like a lot of fun but, given its new-found poignancy, has become one of the most unmissable films of early 2023.

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