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Cocaine Bear Kept Its Title Hidden In Fear Of Studio Pushback (But Didn't Need To)

In the long history of Hollywood, audiences have paid money to see movies with pretty wild titles. Although, if one were to compile a short list of some of the most bizarre of the bunch, there's no denying that "Cocaine Bear" would make the cut. It's short, to the point, and advertises exactly what the movie has to offer: a bear ingesting a horrifying amount of cocaine and going on a rampage as the drug courses through its system. It's a perfect title, but the minds behind the movie felt the need to keep it hidden during production.

"We were sure there was going to be pushback on it, but it turns out that Universal is cool," "Cocaine Bear" co-producer Chris Miller jokingly shared during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the film's Los Angeles, California premiere. Many working on the feature felt the "Cocaine Bear" title was a bit strong, so they kept it on the down-low for a while. "It was 'Untitled Bear Comedy' for a while," fellow producer Aditya Sood mentioned, but thankfully, the powers that be were very receptive in a positive way toward the name.

If anything, the reaction to "Cocaine Bear" and its odd yet accurate title only served to prove director Elizabeth Banks right in her assertion that the film's wild nature would give it a fair shot at the movies.

Elizabeth Banks understood that Cocaine Bear needed to be wild

As the double-take-worthy title implies, "Cocaine Bear" is far from a relaxing cinematic ride. It's violent, crass, and shocking at points. There's truly nothing else like it out there, and it's far from the average superhero movie or franchise film. In the eyes of director Elizabeth Banks, this isn't something that hurt the feature. Rather, she felt that the wackiness of "Cocaine Bear," from its title to its story, would allow it to thrive in a cinematic landscape that has become increasingly difficult to get outside-the-box ideas at the forefront of.

"She wasn't afraid of how gonzo it needed to be. In today's marketplace, really what you have to be is bold and fresh and different, and 'Cocaine Bear' certainly checks those boxes," explained Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley during a chat with Variety. While "Cocaine Bear" certainly made headlines throughout its press tour and upon its release, it didn't exactly take the box office by storm. On a budget between $30-35 million, it only earned around $89 million by the time it departed theaters (via The Numbers).

"Cocaine Bear" was a calculated risk for Universal that only mildly paid off. Still, it's more than likely to maintain its place as the film with the strangest title released in 2023.