Bursting onto the big screen in February 2023, Elizabeth Banks’s Cocaine Bear has been the unexpected joy-fest for film lovers with reviews on movie rating app Letterboxd saying “actually the funniest thing I’ve ever seen” (user _andyallen) and “a phenomenal piece of cinema” (user kllequerica).
One question that has been raised, though, is how did a name like ‘Cocaine Bear’ ever get the green light? Yes it’s extremely to the point but, I mean... Cocaine... Bear?
Well, on a recent episode of the Hollywood Gold podcast, Elizabeth Banks herself discussed the name of the film and how Kevin Smith inspired her to defend keeping the name as it was.
How Elizabeth Banks got away with naming her film Cocaine Bear
In the podcast, Elizabeth says that the film was shot in Ireland over Covid and while the team were all excited about creating the movie and what it could become, they repeatedly asked themselves when it came to making the film: “Are they gonna let us?”
She added that she wanted to be sure that she had the resources to do it right, asking herself questions like “what does it actually cost to make a photorealistic, Nat Geo, documentary-level bear?”.
Elizabeth then admitted that “a big question for me was marketing and can we actually call it ‘Cocaine Bear’,” before adding that she felt the name was genuinely a really big selling point of the movie.
She said that the experience made her reflect on her time filming the 2008 flick Zack and Miri Make A Porno, directed by Kevin Smith. She said that Kevin was warned that keeping the word “porno” in the title would mean it would be restricted from radio ads, and other restrictions such as red and green band trailers.
Elizabeth was keen to not have to find out very late on in the filming process that the title wasn’t allowed, so she teamed up with the marketing team at Universal who researched whether the title would do significant harm to the film.
Ultimately, of course, the team decided to take a gamble and it paid off. The comedy-horror flick raked in $52 million in the first two weeks following release, according to MovieWeb.
As for the bear itself? It was heavily inspired by the one featured in The Revenant!
Cocaine Bear is available for streaming on Now TV and to purchase worldwide.