Fight Club Author Reacts to Film's Ending Being Changed in China
This past weekend, reports emerged about how the official release of Fight Club on Chinese streaming service Tencent Video included an edit of a significant sequence, and that the film concluded with a title card confirming that justice had prevailed over Tyler Durden and his Project Mayhem. Author of the original novel Chuck Palahniuk discovered the news and weighed in on the matter, joking about the "wonderful" news that Tyler ended up in a lunatic asylum. Neither director David Fincher nor any of the film's stars have weighed in on the matter publicly, but with this not being the first film to undergo edits for a Chinese release, they might opt to stay out of the matter.
"This is SUPER wonderful! Everyone gets a happy ending in China!" Palahniuk joked on Twitter. He linked to his Substack, in which he opined, "Tyler and the gang were all arrested. He was tried and sentenced to a mental asylum. How amazing. I'd no idea! Justice always wins. Nothing ever exploded. Fini."
Have You Seen This Sh*t?— Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) January 25, 2022
This is SUPER wonderful! Everyone gets a happy ending in China!
The 1999 film was based on Palahniuk's 1996 novel, but outside of festival screenings, the film never had an official release in China, with audiences instead tracking down or pirating bootleg copies of the movie. With the original release of the film on Tencent Video having only occurred days ago, many audiences are only just now learning of the censors that have been made.
In the movie, Edward Norton's "Jack" suffers from insomnia, a reflection of how bored he has become with his banal and mundane life, until he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who offers him a new way of life, full of chaos and uncertainty. After recruiting other men who feel they are leading aimless existences, Tyler forms "Project Mayhem," a collective that starts with petty vandalism before escalating to a plot involving blowing up buildings to erase everyone's debt. The film concludes with Jack realizing that Tyler is merely his own alter ego, as he is ultimately responsible for all of Tyler's actions, just in time for Jack to witness buildings blowing up around the city.
In the Tencent Video release, however, the film concludes before the destruction of the buildings, and a title card reads, "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 lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012."
It's normal practice for international films to earn edits mandated by the Chinese government so that all films fall in line with the views of the Community Party, largely ensuring that law enforcement ultimately triumphs over criminal elements. What makes this edit so bizarre is that the film is known for its nihilistic and anarchist viewpoints, with the altered ending feeling completely out of line with the original vision of the narrative.
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