Who could forget the ending to 1999’s cinematic classic Fight Club, when, after many mind-bending plot twists and escalating tension, a black screen shows up with a message reading that the police solved everything and the protagonist went to a mental institution.
Okay, that’s not what actually happens at the end of Fight Club, but you might get that impression if your first viewing of the film was on the Chinese streaming site Tencent Video. According to a recent report by Vice, the recut ending was aggravating Chinese social media users on social media.
— Jason Guerrasio (@JasonGuerrasio) January 24, 2022
China has stringent restrictions when it comes to media, including censorship online, as media generally must align with the image that the communist government wishes to uphold.
If you’ve seen the actual ending of Fight Club, you’re likely aware that it’s very anti-state. The hasty, clumsy retconning of David Fincher’s film was enough to get social media chuckling at the desperate attempt to invalidate its message in order to be shown in China.
we finally know what the end of Fight Club means, thank you China pic.twitter.com/FKXFldpfV0
— stuart (@punished_stu) January 25, 2022
I guess only China truly followed the first rule of Fight Club. https://t.co/5X9Daq8ElF
— Ahmad Malik (@Ahmad_Malik) January 24, 2022
I would like to see the “China changes the ending of Fight Club” thing become a meme. How would China end other famous movies? pic.twitter.com/FdU2G94Kg4
— Brett ________ (@BrettRedacted) January 25, 2022
Did you hear China gave FIGHT CLUB a new ending??? pic.twitter.com/Q6Xyg5WSTM
— Jenelle Riley (@jenelleriley) January 25, 2022
It’s hardly the first time Chinese distributors have radically altered films in attempts to support the state. Vice points to the Nicolas Cage film Lords of War, which, in China, ends with Cage’s arms dealer protagonist confessing to all crimes and serving life in prison. In the actual film, Cage evades the police and returns to arms dealing.
Chinese social media users were ticked off at the new ending, as Vice noted that commenters expressed that hasty edits like these are why most Chinese moviegoers prefer to seek out bootlegs of international releases.