If you’re looking at the title of Elizabeth Banks’ new comedy-thriller and thinking it’s an idiom of some sort, you’re wrong. In fact, you should take its title quite literally, for there really was a cocaine bear that existed in the ’80s, and now its story has been turned into a Hollywood movie that has the internet full of chatter and intrigue.

As you might have guessed, Cocaine Bear centres around an American black bear that stumbles across a lost stash of cocaine. While the real Cocaine Bear did ingest a portion of the lost cocaine, what it didn’t do was go on a crazed murderous rampage ripping apart any human in its way – a la Banks’ upcoming Hollywood thriller.

So you’re probably wondering what exactly is the truth in this tale of a bear gone wild (on cocaine)? Well, back in 1985, a wealthy Kentucky magnate who had made his fortune through horse breeding also had extracurricular activities of the illegal kind. After a botched drug smuggling operation – 70 pounds of cocaine totalling approximately USD $15 million was accidentally airdropped into a Georgia forest – a black bear stumbled across the lost cocaine and, well, ate it.

Naturally, you can see how the prospect of a bear stumbling across cocaine makes for a thrilling Hollywood film. While the real-life black bear wasn’t found until four weeks after it had ingested the cocaine, it’s believed the animal would have died relatively quickly.

Banks’ film centres around the bear in question, who goes on a drug-fueled rampage attacking and killing locals and those trying to hunt it down. The late Ray Liotta stars in his final role as one of the lead drug smugglers looking for the lost cocaine stash, not suspecting that a black bear had consumed part of the cocaine package… and is now on a murderous hunt.

Judging from the trailer below, Cocaine Bear looks like a wild, humourous, gruesome ride that we’re naturally intrigued to see when it arrives in cinemas on February 24, 2023.