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Is Cocaine Bear a Fact or Fiction? Here Is The Real-Life Inspiration for Cocaine Bear

The story of Cocaine Bear has become a popular urban legend circulating for years. It is a mysterious tale of a bear in Kentucky that died after consuming over 70 pounds of cocaine. This begs the question: Is Cocaine Bear based on a real story? To answer this, we must take a closer look into the history of the legend and its origin.

Is Cocaine Bear Based on a Real Story?

Image Source: BBC

Yes, Cocaine Bear is based on a real story. The film is loosely based on the events surrounding a 175-pound (79 kg) American black bear that died in December 1985 after consuming a duffel bag filled with cocaine.  And after opening on Friday and leading the weekend’s box office, it may even be a success. Since the debut of the trailer for Elizabeth Banks’ R-rated comedy that is very, very loosely based on a true story, the zeitgeist has exploded. Cocaine Bear’s creators believe the film will be an unrestrained exception in an era when much of Hollywood can feel pre-packaged.

“I hope the film lives up to its title,” Banks says with a smile. That was the objective.

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Cocaine Bear has captivated the public imagination more than any other film in recent memory. Its trailer, viewed more than 25 million times, went viral immediately. The film is a living meme, a spiritual heir to Snakes on a Plane crossed with a Paddington Bear fever dream. Everything about it is driven by tongue-in-cheek humor and a “can you believe this is a real movie?” wink. One of the film’s official tweets states, “I’m the bear who ate cocaine.” This is my narrative.

The film’s plot diverges significantly from actual events in several ways. Notably, the real-life Cocaine Bear is unknown to have killed anyone after consuming drugs, and the events preceding its overdose death are unknown. Banks stated in an interview with Adam B. Varney of Variety that “this film could be interpreted as that bear’s revenge tale.” 

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The Real-Life Inspiration for Cocaine Bear

The Real-Time Cocaine Bear Display at Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall| Image Source:

The actual events surrounding a 175-pound (79 kg) American black bear that died in December 1985 after consuming a duffel bag filled with cocaine. Andrew C. Thornton II, a former narcotics officer, and convicted drug smuggler, had dropped the cocaine from his aircraft because it carried too much weight. Thornton died after jumping out of the plane with a defective parachute.

Image Source: The Newyork Times

The bear, who died sometime after consuming the cocaine, was discovered three months later alongside 40 opened plastic containers of cocaine in northern Georgia. The bear is on display at Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington, Kentucky, which in 2015 dubbed the animal “Cocaine Bear.”

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Box office

Cocaine Bear has grossed $23.3 million in the United States and Canada and $5.3 million in other territories for $28.5 million worldwide as of February 26, 2023.

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Final Words

In conclusion, the story of Cocaine Bear is based on an actual event in Kentucky in 1985. The event has become an urban legend due to the extreme nature of the incident and its impressive longevity. While some aspects of the story have been exaggerated or adapted for entertainment, the basic facts remain true. The impact of the events can still be felt today, as evidenced by the ongoing fascination with this surreal moment in history.

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