KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Thursday, February 24, Cocaine Bear is hitting theaters. Here’s what you need to know.

The story is loosely based on true events that have ties back to Knoxville in the 1980s. In 1985, a former narcotics officer-turned-convicted drug smuggler tossed at least 75 pounds of cocaine from his plane into the Chattahoochee National Forrest in Georgia because his cargo was too heavy. When pilot Andrew Thornton was over Knoxville, he jumped from the plane to recover the cocaine, but his parachute failed and he was killed in the fall.

According to Nexstar station WGN, a 175-pound black bear died of an apparent overdose after it found the cocaine and ate the duffle bag full of drugs. The film directed by Elizabeth Banks follows the story of the bear if it lived.

“Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild thriller finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500- pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood.” A description on Fandango reads.

The film releases on Thursday, February 24 with showtimes beginning at 5 p.m. in the Knoxville Area. The following theaters have show times listed starting on Thursday:

  • Regal Riviera – 510 South Gary Street in Knoxville
  • AMC Classic East Towne 10 – 5020 Miller Town Pikem Knoxville
  • Regal Cinnebarre West Town Mall – 7600 Kingston Pike #1520, Knoxville
  • AMC Classic Knoxville 16 – 200 North Peters Road, Knoxville
  • Regal Pinnacle – 11240 Parkside Drive, Knoxville
  • AMC Classic Foothills – 134 Foothills Mall, Maryville
  • Cinemark Tinseltown USA – 755 Est Main Street, Oak Ridge
  • Governors Crossing Stadium 14 – 1402 Hurley Drive, Sevierville
  • Forge Cinemas – 2530 Parkway Suite 7, Pigeon Forge
  • AMC CLASSIC College Square 12 – 2550 East Morris Boulevard, Morristown

Cocaine Bear a true story? Learn the truth behind the bizarre case