Both the novel and movie Fight Club are known for their themes critiquing capitalism, consumerism, toxic masculinity, and anarchism, with David Fincher's 1999 film culminating in a scene featuring Edward Norton's Tyler Durden and Helena Bonham Carter's Marla watching skyscrapers explode around the city. With the film now being made available in China through the streaming service Tencent Video, however, the film has been altered to not only omit this scene, but also offers a caption to let audiences know that Tyler Durden had been captured in time to prevent the destruction, and that he was committed to a "lunatic asylum."
"Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding," the closing caption reads, per Vice. "After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012."
Throughout much of the narrative, Norton's "Jack" finds himself struggling with his path in life and how he's become an office drone, until he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt in the film), who shakes up his entire life to embrace a life of uncertainty and chaos as a reaction to the banal and mundane. This escalates to the point of Tyler (ultimately revealed as Jack's split personality) creating "Project Mayhem," enlisting others to help find ways to disrupt the status quo, leading to the plan of destroying various corporate headquarters in order to erase everyone's debt and set financial records back to zero.
Any films that are released officially in China must have their content sanctioned by the government to align with the views of the Communist Party. This oftentimes means that certain elements of specific films will be edited or censored, though, in the case of Fight Club, its entire ending was altered to reflect the idea that law enforcement will always triumph over criminals to maintain the perception of fair justice.
Vice reported that a source close to the issue revealed that "the film was edited by the copyright owner and then approved by the government before it was sold to streaming sites for distribution. The Chinese publisher of the film, Pacific Audio & Video Co., is an affiliate of the state-owned Guangdong TV."
This certainly won't be the last film to be altered for release in China, though the specifics of the film's new resolution are surely examples of some of the stranger examples of censorship.
What do you think of the issue? Let us know in the comments below!