“Cocaine Bear” teaser poster has internet buzzed: “Movie of the year”

The first look at the teaser poster for the upcoming film Cocaine Bear has the internet buzzing.

The film’s official Twitter account shared the poster, captioned “Don’t coke the bear,” at noon eastern time, and it quickly went viral, hitting Twitter’s trending topics list. The poster shows a wide-eyed snarling bear drawn in white powder.

“Cocaine Bear is already movie of the year alone for the title,” YouTuber @PattyNest wrote.

“this graphic looks like one an athletic department puts out to announce they’ve hired cocaine bear as head football coach,” @actioncookbook wrote.

“This poster looks like the cocaine Bear protects the girls of Sin City,” @DFWendi wrote, referring to the 2005 film shot in stylistic black and white with splashes of color.

“Jan/Feb have turned from the dumping ground to the most unhinged and camp time of the year, Cocaine Bear and M3GAN shall rule 2023,” @sydney_volpe wrote. M3GAN, coming out on January 6, is a horror film about a child’s robotic doll.

At the top of the page for the Cocaine Bear trend, Twitter posted a box offering help for those with substance abuse issues—which also led to some clowning from Twitter denizens.

“lol if you click on the trending topic of Cocaine Bear you get this helpful message! I truly hope all of the coke addicted bears of the world can read/use Twitter so they see this and get the help they need!!” Writer Maureen McEly tweeted alongside a screenshot of the notice.

Cocaine Bear is, as its poster says, based on a true story. On September 11, 1985, Andrew Thornton, a former narcotics officer who became a notorious drug smuggler, jumped from a plane on a drug run. Thornton got tangled up in his parachute and fell to his death, landing in a Knoxville, Tennessee resident’s driveway.

Prior to his fall, he had dropped packages of cocaine, as the plane was carrying too much cargo. One such package—containing 40 plastic containers of the drug—was discovered by a 175-pound black bear. The bear consumed the cocaine, overdosed and died.

A black bear, like the one in this stock photo, consumed a large amount of cocaine in 1985. The story has been adapted into the 2023 Elizabeth Banks film “Cocaine Bear.”
iStock/Getty Images

The body of the original “cocaine bear” was taxidermied. Though the bear’s body was originally part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, it went to a Nashville pawn shop. Outlaw country music legend Waylon Jennings bought it, and gave it to a friend in Las Vegas. After his death, it was sold to Zhu T’ang, who owned a traditional Chinese medicine shop. After T’ang died, his widow donated it to the Kentucky For Kentucky store.

The bear’s corpse now resides at the Fun Mall in Lexington, Kentucky.

“The fact that Cocaine Bear is trending and I’m literally sitting like 10 feet away from the actual bear,” @ahuntSPN18 tweeted, along with a video panning over to the stuffed animal.

The film is directed by Elizabeth Banks, and stars Ray Liotta in one of his final roles before his death this year at 67. Liotta seemed excited for the film, calling it “kind of nutty,” adding “I think it’s going to be really good.”

“Elizabeth Banks directed it and she was great to work with. Yeah, that’s an odd one,” Liotta told Newsweek at the time. “”I play the guy whose coke it is—imagine that. Just the title. I go, ‘Cocaine Bear? What the fudge.'”

Newsweek reached out to Elizabeth Banks’ representatives for comment.

Cocaine Bear is due to hit theaters February 24, 2023.

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