Is ‘Cocaine Bear’ Based On A True Story?

Elizabeth Banks’s latest film, Cocaine Bear, features a bear that does cocaine, eats some more cocaine, and then goes on a killing spree fueled by all the cocaine it did. Weirdly, it’s coming out in February 2023, presumably so that the Academy can have ten full months to really consider whether to give it all of the Oscars or only most of them.

Here’s the trailer for you to watch on repeat:

It’s the kind of absurd B-movie premise that only Hollywood could dream up, except it’s not because it’s 1000% based on a thing that really happened. In the balmy September of 1985, a smuggler named Andrew Thornton II fell from a plane with a duffel bag with a lose-your-job amount of cocaine in it. Landing in the Georgia woods, all 70 pounds of it was apparently ingested by a 175-pound black bear who probably thought it was going to live forever for 48 hours straight. Sadly, the bear was discovered dead three months after the unintentional cargo drop when, according to The Daily Mail, a medical examiner ruled that the bear had cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure and a stroke. Basically, all the bad stuff happened at the same time.

The bad stuff that didn’t happen? Any mauling or maiming of humans. That’s where the movie diverges big time and, frankly, gives the real-life black bear who did blow a bad name. Presumably, it won’t be suing for slander because it’s taxidermized and available to see at the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington. So, now that we know Cocaine Bear is based on a true story, let’s make it a smash hit so Banks can make Cocaine Bearnado like nature intended.