• Box Office

World Box Office February 20 to 26, 2023

Cocaine Bear clawed its way to the box office charts and went way past projections, scooping $23.09 million and placing a strong second.

Directed by actress-director Elizabeth Banks, Cocaine Bear is loosely based on a 1985 true story in which a black bear overdosed on 75 pounds of cocaine, estimated to be worth around $2 million at the time, dropped from a plane by a convicted drug smuggler and his accomplices.

Andrew C. Thornton, thinking that his plane was overloaded (another theory suggested that the light aircraft had engine trouble), dropped bags of cocaine and then jumped out. A faulty parachute was blamed for Thornton’s death.

The bear was found dead three months later in northern Georgia, surrounded by 40 opened containers of cocaine. In a story seemingly worthy of another movie, the stuffed body of Cocaine Bear changed ownership several times until it ended up on display at the Kentucky Fun Mall.

In real life, the now popular bear did not go on a murderous rampage but in Banks’ movie, writer Jimmy Warden lets loose his imagination and concocts a gory comedy-thriller set in a Georgia forest park. The campy movie stars Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ray Liotta (in his final movie), Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Matthew Rhys.

Cocaine Bear took a huge bite out of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania which still topped the chart but dropped by a steep 70 percent. In a development described by box office analysts as the worst second-weekend drop for a Marvel Cinematic Universe release, Quantumania made an estimated $32 million.

On its sophomore frame, the Paul Rudd movie has amassed a total of $167 million.

Also zooming way past box office prophecies was Jesus Revolution, which drew $15.5 million and landed third. Reflecting the appeal of faith-based dramas, the movie, directed by Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle, was based on Greg Laurie’s book of the same name.

The story chronicling the Jesus movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, began by teenage hippies in Southern California, top bills Jonathan Roumie, who has earned a big following for playing Jesus in the hit Gospels-based TV series, The Chosen, Kelsey Grammer, Joel Courtney and Kimberly Williams-Paisley.

James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water is still performing solidly with $4.7 million and holding on to the fourth spot.

Even though it’s now streaming, Antonio BanderasPuss in Boots: The Last Wish still made it to the top five. After ten weeks, the sequel still picked up $4 million.

Comprising the rest of the top ten were, in order: Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike’s Last Dance, $3 million; Knock at the Cabin, $1.87 million; 80 for Brady, $1.83 million; Missing, $1 million; and Tom HanksA Man Called Otto, $850,000.

Internationally, Quantumania did not drop as much as it did in the domestic market. Peyton Reed’s third time to helm the saga of Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp collected $46.4 million in over 50 territories.

With a global cume of $363.6 million, Ant-Man 3 is predicted to eventually earn more than $500 million worldwide.

In the meantime, Avatar 2 has become the biggest movie hit ever in Europe. The Pandora-set epic is still drawing robust figures, especially in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The film’s current worldwide and overseas figures are $2.267 billion and $1.602 billion, respectively.

Cocaine Bear is also starting to growl at the box office offshore, with initial ticket sales of $5.3 million.