‘Cocaine Bear’ Movie: Everything To Know Including The Release Date, Plot, And Trailer

Since it was announced in the spring of 2021, the forthcoming movie Cocaine Bear has garnered a lot of attention. And why not? It’s called Cocaine Bear. What’s more, it is, as you might guess, about a bear who’s high on cocaine. Do you need to know any more than that? Possibly not, but in case you do, here are some basics about the forthcoming film.

Release Date

Cocaine Bear hits theaters on February 24, 2023.


Cocaine Bear is about a black bear who unwittingly consumes a ton of cocaine. It then goes on a murderous rampage. The film is also completely based on a true story. It stems from a 1985 incident, covered at the time by The Associated Press, which told of a man named Andrew Thornton, who led a colorful life. The son of wealthy thoroughbred owners, he became a military paratrooper, then a police officer, then a lawyer. His last gig was as a prominent Kentucky drug smuggler.

Thornton’s life up to this point could make for an engaging film in its own right. But there’s more. Investigators believe Thornton was transporting millions in cocaine on a small plane over Tennessee. The cargo was too heavy, though, and Thornton threw some of it out, which landed near a 175-pound black bear. Said bear then consumed 70 pounds, or 40 percent of its body weight. It was found dead four days later, which is sad. No animal deserves to die of a drug overdose. Thornton, on the other hand, falls out of a plane, albeit with a parachute. He was considered an expert skydiver. Unfortunately, his parachute didn’t open and he was found dead on top of someone’s driveway.

Though the film is based on a true story, the same one that was the inspiration for the fourth season of Justified, there’s one major thing that’s in it that did not happen for real. As mentioned, the cocaine bear, who’s had a lot of cocaine, goes on a murderous rampage. That part didn’t happen. The only deaths were the bear and Thornton. So that’s good, at least.

Here’s the official plot synopsis for the movie:

Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild thriller finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500- pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood.


Keri Russell heads the ensemble cast of potential cocaine bear chow. She’s joined by O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jessie Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Washington Jr., Margo Martindale, and — in one of his final appearances, and looking even more criminal than Goodfellas’ Henry Hill — Ray Liotta.

Cocaine Bear was directed by Elizabeth Banks, the actress who expanded into filmmaking. She’s previously directed Pitch Perfect 2 and the latest Charlie’s Angels reboot. Cocaine Bear looks like it will borrow from both, the comedy of the former (although of a much darker variety) and the action of the latter (though mostly for creature feature thrills). Its producers include the very funny duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, of the 21 Jump Street diptych, The Lego Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and more.


There is indeed a trailer for Cocaine Bear, and you can watch it here. People had a lot of reactions to it when it dropped.

‘Cocaine Bear’ makes its debut in theaters on February 24.