China restores Fight Clubs original ending as odd alternative sparks backlash

The original ending of Fight Club has been restored in China after the odd alternative sparked backlash (warning – spoilers ahead).

Last month Chinese streaming giant Tencent censored the ending of the 1999 film, cutting out action scenes and fighting and replacing them with a message onscreen explaining that the authorities won.

Now roughly 11 minutes of the original ending have been restored, although scenes involving nudity still remain cut.

The cult classic, directed by David Fincher and starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, ends with Norton's character killing his imaginary alter ego (played by Pitt) before a subversive plot sees buildings blown up in an attempt to reorder society.

In China's version, the message explains how that plot is foiled by police, with criminals arrested and Pitt's character ending up in a "lunatic asylum".

The message reads: "Through the clue provided by Tyler [Pitt's character], the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding."

Not only was the change ridiculed online, it also raised more serious concerns about Chinese censorship.

It was widely condemned by Chinese viewers who had seen the original, as well as human rights groups.

Another person who mocked the change was Chuck Palahniuk, the author of 1996 novel Flight Club from which the film was adapted.

He joked on Twitter: "This is SUPER wonderful! Everyone gets a happy ending in China!"

He later added on Substack: "How amazing. I'd no idea! Justice always wins. Nothing ever exploded. Fini."

It was not the first time that Chinese broadcasters have altered western TV or film, with 2005 hit Lord of War receiving similar treatment.

Several scenes from Last year's Friends: The Reunion special were also removed for Chinese audiences, including all of those featuring Lady Gaga.

The pop icon's catalogue had been banned in the country after she met with the Dalai Lama – considered a separatist in China – in June.

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