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‘Cocaine Bear’ set for 2023 release

 (NEXSTAR) — “Cocaine Bear,” the thriller about a drugged-up rampaging black bear, now has an official release date.

The movie, based on a true story and directed by Elizabeth Banks, is set to hit theaters on Feb. 24, 2023.

“This wild thriller 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,” according to Rotten Tomatoes.

The story is based on events that happened in 1985, when Andrew Thornton, a former narcotics officer-turned-convicted drug smuggler, tossed at least 75 pounds of cocaine from his plane in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia.

Thornton reportedly unloaded the drugs — worth about $15 million — because his cargo was too heavy. He then jumped out of the plane to recover the cocaine, but his parachute failed and he was killed.

A 175-pound black bear discovered the cocaine and apparently died of a massive overdose after eating a duffle bag full of the drug. A medical examiner later said the bear’s stomach was packed with it, Nexstar station WGN reported.

The movie, to be released by Universal Pictures, stars the late Ray Liotta in his final performance, along with Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Matthew Rhys, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Christian Convery, Brooklynn Prince and Margo Martindale, according to IMDB.

The real-life bear, which was taxidermized and later owned by country legend Waylon Jennings, is now on display at the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington.

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