Cocaine Bear sniffs up $2 million in Thursday previews

The apex predator on coke mauls a good hunk of cash for early screenings, which puts it on pace to be a humble success.

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

The year is off to a hot start with 2023’s first big budget blockbuster, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, released and performing well with $104 million in its opening weekend, and this week brings in the tongue-in-cheek comedy animal attack film Cocaine Bear. Our review from Chris Bumbray praises the start-to-finish fun energy of the Elizabeth Banks-directed movie. Variety now reports about the Thursday preview taking in $2 million on 3,000 screens and expands to 3,534 nationwide today.

The movie was projected to make between $15 million and $17 million, with $20 million at the most, thanks to good word-of-mouth buzz and the best meme-worthy concept this side of Snakes on a Plane. This is a great pace for the film, as the budget came in at around $35 million, with most being spent on the CGI bear. Elizabeth Banks even recently received a Beary Best Award from PETA for her usage of CG to portray the enraged, drugged up bear instead of using actual bears for the production.

Cocaine Bear is proving to be effective alternative content to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, as older audiences who are interested in seeing a film with a harder edge and less family friendly content will find this just as entertaining. Predictably, the coked-up predator won’t have the strength to overtake the powerful ant at the box office, however it will be seated comfortably just below it in second place.

Elizabeth Banks has already mentioned that she’s down for following up Cocaine Bear with a similarly fun “Cocaine Shark” film, as this one is already gaining a cult following for its reputation. And the film’s writer, Jimmy Warden, expressed he’s got ideas for more in the holster. Warden told Variety, “For the sequels, I definitely have ideas for that. The bear’s not the bad guy in this movie. What happened is a product of circumstance and everybody else’s poor decisions. I think that is a story that we can continue to tell over and over again. I’d be excited to tell it because there are some really good ideas that we have for the subsequent movies.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnGtendxXUU

Source: Variety

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.