China gives Fight Club a new ending, manages to completely change the plot of the movie
Spoilers incoming for this 23-year-old movie...
Released in cinemas in towards the end of 1999, David Fincher's toxic societal drama Fight Club didn't initially land with much of an impact. The box office wasn't great ($101 million worldwide from a $65 million production budget), the reviews weren't great (66% on Metacritic), and it was only nominated for a single Oscar: Best Sound Editing, which it lost to The Matrix.
However, time would most definitely be on this movie's side, which received a massive surge in popularity upon home release. Fincher was one of Hollywood's first major directors to be incredibly hands-on with the cinema-to-DVD transfer, and the two-disc set became one of the biggest-selling movies on the platform at the time.
Over two decades later, after posters adorning the college walls of every basic bro imaginable, the film is still being reanalysed and recontextualised, but in the matter of its release in China, it has practically been rewritten.
For those who don't know [SPOILERS!], the original ending sees the Narrator (Edward Norton) finally defeat Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), but not before Durden's plan to destroy the financial district of the city - essentially wiping everyone's credit card details and debt - succeeds, demolishing a number of skyscrapers around them.
Oh, and Durden and the Narrator are the same person, different aspects of a dissociative personality disorder.
In China, things go a little differently...
FIGHT CLUB’s ending for the Chinese release (on Tencent Video) was changed to this and now I’m waiting for someone to fanfic a sequel based on this censored ending. pic.twitter.com/zYB0bY3Dlp
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) January 24, 2022
"Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to [sic] lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012."
Hooray, the government wins!
Obviously, this change was met with some strong derision from viewers in China, who would have already seen the original ending, perhaps via bootleg copies, in the intervening two decades or so.
Also, what clue? Provided by Tyler? Are they referring to Norton as Tyler, or Pitt as Tyler? Because, again, Pitt as Tyler doesn't actually exist.
At the time of writing, it is unclear if the government ordered the changes ahead of the movie being made available on the Chinese streaming platform Tencent, or even if it was the producers of Fight Club who provided this new, plot-altering finale.
But considering China are also edit-happy with other blockbusters, especially when it comes to any queer representation - the most recent example being any and all gay scenes in Bohemian Rhapsody - you have to wonder if they'll make any more changes to Fight Club once they realise how fantastically homoerotic it is...