Box Office: ‘Cocaine Bear’ Earns $2 Million in Previews

Cocaine Bear” is snorting up a solid opening weekend. The R-rated action-comedy earned $2 million in Thursday previews at the domestic box office. It opened in 3,000 North American theaters Thursday night and will expand to 3,534 on Friday.

Universal’s bloody, real-life tale about a black bear on a cocaine-fueled rampage is projected to open with $15 million to $17 million this weekend. Some predictions have it opening with as much as $20 million, thanks to its positive word-of-mouth (or word-of-snout) and memeability online. The mid-budget film cost roughly $35 million, with much of it used on the CGI bear, so a launch in the upper teens would be a good sign.

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“Cocaine Bear” will have to settle for second place, though, as last week’s major release, Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” will continue to reign over the box office. The superhero sequel opened to $120 million domestically and $249 million globally over the long President’s Day weekend. Its ticket sales are expected to drop between 55% to 65% and the film should total about $35 million to $40 million in its second weekend.

The human actors starring alongside the titular bear include Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ray Liotta and Brooklynn Prince. Elizabeth Banks directed the film, which was written by Jimmy Warden. In the story inspired by true events, the people of a small Georgia town must try to survive a grizzly attack from a bear that discovers a duffel bag full of cocaine.

And if one movie about a bear on cocaine wasn’t enough, Warden already has plans for more.

“For the sequels, I definitely have ideas for that,” Warden told Variety. “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.”

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