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Universal Pictures’ latest offering, the horror comedy Cocaine Bearproved to be a surprise hit at the U.S. Box Office!

The film, starring Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Jesse Tyler Ferguson among others, snorted up a cool $23.1 million to become the #2 movie in the country, right behind Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, which earned $32.2 million in its second week. As shocking as it is to see this particularly zany film surpass everyone’s expectations, you may find it more shocking that it is based on a true story that happened right here in North Carolina!

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WRAL reports that the film is based on a plane crash in December 1985. The article, as first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reads, “A North Carolina black bear may have overdosed on cocaine in the latest twist to the cocaine-skydiving scheme of Andrew Thornton, who parachuted to his death in September with 77 pounds of cocaine strapped to his waist.”

Thornton leaped from the plane, which would crash into the North Georgia Mountains, and was ultimately found dead in Knoxville, TN. Meanwhile, the 175-lb bear was found dead in Georgia, near the NC border. A duffle bag and nearly $2 million worth of cocaine were found nearby, scattered over the hillside.

It is said that Thornton dropped a bag of maps, food, and clothes into a pond in Butts County. He also dropped another parachute, possibly containing cocaine, into Cherokee County.

So, yes, there was really a coked-out bear out here… although it didn’t go on a killing spree prior to its unfortunate demise.



Surprise Box Office Hit “Cocaine Bear” Has a Real-Life NC Connection  was originally published on