Cocaine Bear: release date, trailer, cast and everything we know about the movie

Keri Russell in Cocaine Bear
Keri Russell in Cocaine Bear (Image credit: Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Move over The Revenant, Cocaine Bear is here. While the former was based on a true story of a 19th century man surviving a bear attack and then going out for revenge, Cocaine Bear is inspired by the stranger-than-fiction true tale of a bear on a drug trip.

With Elizabeth Banks and the team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller behind the camera, the movie is poised to be a wild, darkly comedic retelling of the incident that you're just going to have to see to believe (Twitter certainly can't believe this is a real movie).

Here is everything that you need to know about Cocaine Bear.

Cocaine Bear release date

An early entry to the slate of 2023 movies, Cocaine Bear releases on February 24 in the US, UK and most of the world exclusively in movie theaters.

We can't help but mention that this R-rated comedy with the spectacular title of Cocaine Bear just so happens to share its release date with a movie called Jesus Revolution. Gotta love that fun bit of programming.

Cocaine Bear trailer

The best way to truly understand what lies in store with Cocaine Bear is by watching the trailer. So we'll just let that speak for itself below (FYI, it is NSFW).

Cocaine Bear plot

By now you probably get the gist of what Cocaine Bear is about — a wild bear eats a bag of cocaine and then goes on a rampage — but here is the official synopsis for the movie:

"Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner's plane crash, missing cocaine and the black bear that ate it, this wild dark comedy finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood."

The script was written by Jimmy Warden (The Babysitter: Killer Queen).

Cocaine Bear cast

It's a great lineup of actors making up the Cocaine Bear cast, but we'll start with recognizing the late Ray Liotta. After his tragic passing in 2022, Cocaine Bear is going to be one of the last times that we get to see the Goodfellas and Field of Dreams star on the big screen.

But he's not the only big name starring in the movie. Keri Russell (The Americans), O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Christian Convery-Jennings (Sweet Tooth), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Brooklyn Prince (The Florida Project), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (BlackKklansman), Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), Hannah Hoekstra (Charlie's Angels), Aaron Holliday (Sharp Objects) and Margo Martindale (The Americans) all star in the film. 

O'Shea Jackson Jr., Aldren Ehrenreich, Hannah Hoekstra and Ray Liotta in Cocaine Bear

O'Shea Jackson Jr., Aldren Ehrenreich, Hannah Hoekstra and Ray Liotta in Cocaine Bear (Image credit: Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

What is Cocaine Bear rated?

No surprise here, Cocaine Bear is rated R in the US for "bloody violence and gore, drug content and language throughout." An official rating for the UK has not been issued. 

Cocaine Bear director

Elizabeth Banks is behind-the-scenes as the director of Cocaine Bear. While Banks is first and foremost known as an actress, she has directed a number of big movies in recent years, including Pitch Perfect 2 and 2019's Charlie's Angels reboot. This is the first time that we're seeing Banks play in the dark comedy and R-rating area, so that should be fun to see.

Banks is also a producer on the movie with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).