Cocaine Bear: Release Date, Cast And Other Things We Know About The Movie

Cocaine Bear poster
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Every once in a while, a movie releases and the title is just so out there you have no choice but to see it. It could be in the best horror movies with films like The Thing or The Shining. Maybe it could even be in the best horror-comedy movies like Ready or Not -- titles that really draw you in and make you want to make that trek to the theater whether it be in the warmth or the cold. 

And then there’s Cocaine Bear. A title that truly knocked me out of my seat the first time I heard it, and made me realize I needed to know more about this upcoming movie. 

The first trailer for Cocaine Bear released and for those who want to have an idea of when this film might be coming out, or who is going to be starring in it, here are some quick things that we know about the upcoming thriller. 

Cocaine Bear trailer image

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Cocaine Bear Is Set To Release On February 23, 2023

Be prepared, friends, as your 2023 movie release schedule is about to get a heck of a lot more thrilling. According to Deadline, Cocaine Bear is set to release on February 23, 2023. I know, a part of us probably all wanted it to come out as part of the 2022 release schedule, but I can deal with waiting a couple of months for this crazy thrill-ride. 

Who knew that starting off the year would include a crazy rage-fueled bear? I didn’t. And yet, I am here for the wackiness. 

The bear in Cocaine Bear.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Watch The Trailer For Cocaine Bear Down Below

Cocaine Bear has already released its first trailer, so if you want to just get a hint at what the craziness of this movie is going to be like, be sure to check it out now down below. 

Ray Liotta in the trailer for Cocaine Bear.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Elizabeth Banks Directed Cocaine Bear

So I want to ask – who do you expect would direct a film such as Cocaine Bear? I had no idea when I first found out about the movie, but the answer might be surprising – according to the Deadline article from above, Elizabeth Banks is actually directing the thriller film. 

Banks has directed multiple films at this point, including a comedy and an action-adventure comedy, but never a thriller. She directed Pitch Perfect 2, the second film in the Pitch Perfect film series, and she directed the 2019 remake of Charlie’s Angels. But other than that? A thriller appears to be new territory for her. And yet, here she is, stepping into the director’s seat to make Cocaine Bear. 

In an interview that she did with CinemaBlend, Banks talked about how the movie is actually going to pay homage to the great films of directors such as Sam Raimi, John Carpenter, and Steven Spielberg, and talking about how the film is more than what you would expect.

The movie, despite what you just saw, really has a lot of humor and heart in it as well. And, there's some hugging, there's some tears. It really is a story about fathers and sons and parenting and taking care of each other in crazy times, right? That's one of the sort of thematics of this too, is just when things are going totally sideways, who can you count on? That's a big part of the movie as well.

Banks also went on to say that the reason she even made the film in the first place wasn’t because of the crazy bear or the thrilling aspects, but the themes and the heart she could put behind the story. 

That to me, the heart of the movie, the reason I made it was not necessarily because of the crazy bear. I do love these movies. I love horror and I love gore, and I love comedy and I love Sam Raimi and I love John Carpenter, and I felt like this was an opportunity to, this takes place in 1985. So this is a real opportunity to create a homage to some of those kinds of films, but also to do something really unique too, because it is also a character piece.

I have a feeling that Banks knows what she’s doing, and hopefully, the film will have just as much heart and thrilling moments as she says there will be. 

Keri Russell in Cocaine Bear

(Image credit: Universal Pictures )

Keri Russell, Ray Liotta And More Star In Cocaine Bear

If you were wondering who was going to be starring in this film, there are plenty of people in this ensemble cast. The film stars Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Kahyun Kim, Christian Convey, Brooklynn Prince, and Scott Seiss. 

Another person who is also going to be in the film is Ray Liotta, who unfortunately passed away earlier in 2022, but finished filming all his scenes prior to his death, according to Variety.

I mean, this cast is already stacked to the brim with talent. We have a TV and film legend in Ray Liotta, and several other big stars who have made their name in the business, such as Keri Russell, who was in TV shows like The Americans. There’s even a Game of Thrones cast alumni here in Hivju, and Ferguson is from the Modern Family cast and other TV shows and films. With this talented ensemble, I have a feeling that this movie is going to be unlike anything we have ever seen before. 

Cocaine Bear eating a person in the trailer.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Cocaine Bear Is About A Bear Who Accidentally Ingests A Large Amount Of Cocaine

You know, with a name like Cocaine Bear, some people might think that there’s some hidden detail to the title that they don’t know, but this movie is literally about just that – a bear that ingests a ton of cocaine. 

The basic premise of the film, according to the Deadline article above, is that a group of random people happen to be in the same forest as a bear who accidentally takes down bricks of cocaine, sending it on a rage-fueled rampage. 

But of course, these bricks of cocaine also happen to give this bear ridiculous strength and “drug-fueled superpowers,” using them in ways to terrify his victims. Yes, this is the movie and it sounds just as insane as the title suggests. Sign me up. 

The bear jumping into an ambulance in Cocaine Bear.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

What Inspired The Story Behind Cocaine Bear

Believe it or not, this isn’t actually all made up. Because the story of Cocaine Bear is based on a real story – sort of. 

Obviously the mauling and super-powers part isn’t real, but a bear did once ingest cocaine accidentally. According to CNN, (citing an Associated Press article from 1985) a bag of cocaine was dropped from a small plane over the mountains of Georgia by Andrew Thornton, a cop who was smuggling the drugs. He also jumped at the time, and died from parachuting off the plane. 

When the police investigated the incident, they found the bear's remains in Chattahoochee National Forest. The police said they found forty packages of cocaine ripped open, presumably by the bear that apparently later died of an overdose. 

Yes, a little less bloody than the story that the film appears to be telling, but no less strange. 

There’s truly so much to anticipate about this upcoming thriller film and honestly, I’m going to end up seeing it because it just looks so crazy. And I’d suggest that you head to the theaters when Cocaine Bear comes out just so you can witness the craziness and heart behind this thrilling movie. 

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!