Cocaine Bear Screenwriter Already Has Sequels In Mind (Including Cocaine Bear Goes To Space)

In what is the second killer bear movie in as many weeks — "Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey" was the other — Elizabeth Banks' "Cocaine Bear" is a wonderfully blunt, refreshingly straightforward grindhouse horror/comedy about, well, a bear on cocaine. Based on a real-life 1985 incident of a black bear eating a $15 million stash of abandoned cocaine, Banks' film extrapolates that the bear in question went on a crazed murder spree after consuming the drugs. Not only did the bear get high, but it immediately got addicted, fiendishly tearing through the Kentucky woods looking for more bricks of cocaine that had been thrown out of a drug dealer's plane. It even thought to give some cocaine to its cubs. In real life, the bear merely died.

Perhaps a mild spoiler, but at the end of the film, the bear survives. The drug dealers who went looking for their missing cocaine were either viciously mauled, or wisely washed their hands of the cocaine business. The bear was left slightly crazed by the incident, left to roam the forests seeking a fix. "Cocaine Bear" is structured like an old-fashioned, PSA-tinged scare film, but undercuts any kind of bloviating, righteous messages with its whimsical tone and silly premise. 

The film opened on February 24, 2023, and has already scored $2 million in preview screenings. It's projected to earn $15 to $17 million in its opening weekend, which is not a bad take. Naturally, the film's screenwriter, Jimmy Warden, is already thinking about extending his film into a franchise. In a recent interview with Variety, Warden revealed that he wanted to send his ursa major into the cosmos.

Cocaine Bear in Space

When asked about the mild sequel tease at the end — the bear surviving — Warden revealed that he has a whole series of "Cocaine Bear" films in mind. It is, after all, the ethos of modern filmmaking to ensure that any mild hit immediately take up permanent residence in the pop consciousness. One cannot gain any kind of cultural traction without immediately planning sequels. Warden doesn't just want a single sequel. He wants many. He wants so many that eventually the cocaine bear gets ridiculous. He wants, "Not just a sequel. Many sequels," saying that '"Cocaine Bear in Space' is where we would probably end." When asked if he was joshing a bit, Warden said:

"I'm f***ing with you about 'Cocaine Bear Goes to Space.' But 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."

Indeed, the cocaine bear is not the villain of its movie. It's the drug dealers, killers, muggers, and criminals who are the bad guys. The bear is merely an X factor, an unknown element that provides the bad guys with their moral comeuppance. It just happens to be addicted to cocaine. Anywhere that someone is making bad decisions and using coke, this bear could show up. 

The brave tradition of taking horror into space

"Cocaine Bear Goes to Space" would follow in a proud tradition of horror franchises, when they seem to have run out of creative steam, send their killers into space. Whenever it happens, it's odd, and its oddness always catches the eye. 

In 1996, special effects technician Kevin Yagher directed "Hellraiser: Bloodline," the fourth film in its series. The film was set over three time periods, following a toymaker name Lemarchand (Bruce Ramsay) who lived in 1796 France, as well as his descendant on the modern day, and a further descendant in 2127. Each generation of Lemarchand encountered the hedonistic "Hellraiser" cenobites, unleashed from hell by a cursed puzzle box. The film climaxes on a space station, built to be an anti-box. Pinhead (Doug Bradley) kills people on board the space station. 

The following year, B-movie luminary Brian Trenchard-Smith took the already-campy "Leprechaun" series into space with, well, "Leprechaun 4: In Space." That film involves a wedding gone awry and a Leprechaun marriage to an alien princess, not to mention space marines and evil mutants. It's as dumb as it sounds. One would also do well to remember the 2001 film "Jason X," the tenth film in the "Friday the 13th" series. In that film, Jason Voorhees is cryogenically frozen for centuries, awakened on board a space ship, and physically enhanced by medical nanites. They even build him a new hockey mask. It's as dumb as it sounds. 

And who could forget Darrell Root's 2004 film "Dracula 3000?" The answer is: everyone. Robert Rodriguez's promised sequel "Machete Kills Again ... In Space" has not come to fruition

One can hope for a better conclusion for "Cocaine Bear in Space." Let's see that bear eff up some astronauts.