The Cocaine Bear Is Based on a True Story, and a Meeting and Greeting With a Stuffed Bear Will Take Place at The Screening


If you were lucky enough to see the insane NSFW trailer for Cocaine Bear, then you know that this comedy thriller promises a fun and quirky pastime in the cinema. What may be the strangest aspect of a film about a 500-pound deadly bear under attack is that there really is a real story that inspired it. That was until the Kentucky Theater announced it would be holding screenings where it would be possible to meet and greet the taxidermied remains of the creature behind the true story that inspired the film. We’re not kidding.

On Friday, February 24, and Saturday, February 25, the Kentucky Theater will host screenings where moviegoers will be able to take pictures with the now teddy bear, according to ABC 36 (WTVQ). The animal will be displayed in the foyer of the cinema for two days on the first weekend after the release of the film.

Anyone familiar with the term “inspired by a real story” knows that filmmakers and studios often use this term rather vaguely. So, given that people can now go see a real bear before watching a movie, how absurd is Elizabeth Banks’ “Cocaine Bear” really? Let’s look at the truth behind the fiction.

Was there a bear that swallowed a ton of cocaine?

As we pointed out earlier, the film has an appropriate title because, as the New York Times points out in its article, there was actually a real bear who died of an overdose after taking a large amount of cocaine. However, the real bear, although scary if stepped on in the woods, was much less imposing than the 500-pound beast depicted in the upcoming film. In fact, the bear was registered as a 175-pound black bear.

Did the bear go on a murderous rampage?

The real incident with the abandoned forest animal is much less bloody than what is shown in the film. The massacre shown in the movie’s trailer is where Hollywood deviates from the truth. A bear was found dead of an overdose in the mountains of Fannin County, Georgia. The animal overdosed shortly after the discovery of drugs that were dropped from the plane by former policeman and convicted drug smuggler Andrew Thornton. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation found the bear next to 40 open plastic containers with traces of cocaine. A shopping mall in Kentucky claims to be the proud owner of a stuffed bear and even used it as its mascot.

Is the bear the only one who died?

Sad, right? Although the bear’s death is tragic, there was another death, but not from the paws of a bear. Andrew Thornton, the pilot who dropped drugs for the bear, died on September 11, 1985. He got stuck in his parachute while trying to jump from his Cessna plane with autopilot and died. The bureau reported that Thornton was overweight, which ultimately caused his death.

Is a bear high on cocaine the only thing in the movie?

Yes, the bear overdose did occur, but Andrew Thornton’s participation will also be shown in the film. Welsh actor Matthew Rhys plays Thornton in the upcoming film. How much the character will influence or what his end result will be in the story remains to be seen, but he is based on a real person.

Cocaine Bear is only partially based on real events. In truth, the film’s director Elizabeth Banks says she drew much more inspiration from films like “Stay with Me” and from favorite directors like Sam Raimi, John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg when she shot her film. No matter how you may feel about the tragic death of a real bear used as inspiration for a crazy movie, it’s hard to deny that the movie looks like a ton of fun with lots of F-bombs and black humor.

The Cocaine Bear is making its way to theaters on February 24, and if you’re close enough to the Kentucky Theater, you can pop in and take a picture with the bear that inspired the movie’s insane plot. While CinemaBlend readers are waiting for their chance to catch a drunken bear in cinemas, they may be interested to check out our movie schedule for 2023 to plan their next trip to the cinema.


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