David Fincher’s 1999 film Fight Club, which stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, recently returned to the headlines after it was revealed that the nihilistic classic had been altered in China. It was revealed that the Fight Club ending was altered so that instead of the original high-rise bombings that were coordinated to take out the loan companies, Chinese viewers were given a brief message that Tyler Durden had actually been arrested.
Screenshots of the modified ending went viral on social media, with the translated epilogue reading:
The police quickly figured out the whole plan and arrested all the criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to an insane asylum to receive psychological help. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.
But now it appears that this censored Fight Club that was shown on streaming service Tencent Video has been replaced with a version that restores the original ending, according to the post. The South China Morning Post.
The censored version caused widespread backlash in China, with many online moviegoers expressing their dissatisfaction with this blatant change to the original film. 12 minutes were returned to the film, which were cut from the edited version. However, like many Chinese films, some scenes containing nudity were censored in the new version.
When it became known that the ending of Fight Club was censored in China, the author of the novel on which the film is based, Chuck Palahniuk, said that the altered Chinese ending is actually closer to how his book ends. In Palahniuk’s novel, the narrator’s plot fails, not because of the professionalism of the authorities, but because the bomb did not go off. The narrator shoots himself in the head and wakes up in a mental hospital believing he is in heaven.
The irony is that the Chinese changed it so that they almost exactly lined up the ending with the book’s ending, as opposed to Fincher’s ending, which was a more impressive visual ending. In a way, the Chinese have brought the movie closer to the book.
Fincher also talked about how his book faced censorship around the world, as well as in his native America.
What I find really interesting is that my books are strictly banned throughout the US. The Texas prison system refuses to have my books in their libraries. Many public and most private schools refuse to carry my books. But is it only a problem when China changes the end of the movie? I put up with the ban on books for a long time.
Of course, “Fight Club” gained much wider exposure with David Fincher’s adaptation and became a cult classic, with its memorable ending now restored in the Chinese version shown on Tencent Video. This is a relatively rare case of the abolition of censorship in China.