Is Cocaine Bear a real story?

Is Cocaine Bear a real story?
Cocaine Bear, Trailer

Some directors go for ambiguous or enigmatic names when it comes to their movies – not Elizabeth Banks, who has called her bonkers new film Cocaine Bear.

Why is it called that? Well, because it’s about a bear who eats a load of cocaine.

It already looks like the craziest film of 2023, and it’s all about a bear who goes on a murderous rampage after stumbling on a huge stash of drugs.

The new trailer was revealed on Thursday and gives a taste of the comedy-horror, which sees Ray Liotta give one of the final performances before his death in May this year.

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It also stars The Americans actor Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr, and Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

We’re here for Cocaine Bear, but is it based on a true story? Here’s what you need to know.

Is Cocaine Bear based on a true story?

An apex predator on a rampageUniversal Pictures

The short answer? Sort of.

In September 1985, a 175lb black bear in north Georgia ingested a duffel bag of cocaine that convicted drug smuggler Andrew Thornton had abandoned. While the bear was eventually found next to 40 plastic containers of cocaine, it didn’t quite go on the rampage that the bear in the film does.

The bear, often nicknamed Pablo Eskobear, came across parcels of cocaine that had been left after Thornton died while attempting to parachute from a plane.

The story has become something of an urban legend, when details became exaggerated in the years since. The often repeated line is that the bear stumbled across the 75 pounds of cocaine and ate it all. That would be around $15million worth.

However, the truth is that the bear was actually found a month later having overdosed on far less than that amount. It’s actually more likely that the drugs dropped around the site would have melted in the snow, or been taken by a third party.

Instead, the Dr. Kenneth Alonso, who was the chief medical examiner at the state crime lab at the time, said that the bear had absorbed around four grams of cocaine into its blood system.

So, a bear did eat cocaine after a botched drug smuggling operation. But it didn’t eat as much as people often make out, and it didn’t go on a bloodthirsty killing spree.

Either way, Cocaine Bear is released on February 24, 2023.

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