Chinese fans of the 1999 film “Fight Club” are now getting a very different ending to the cult classic, thanks to a government-approved rewrite.
What Happened: According to a Bloomberg report, “Fight Club” is now streaming in China with a new coda that reimagines the film’s Project Mayhem chaos as a thwarted criminal action and its split personality protagonist as a miscreant taken into government custody.
“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 new version tells viewers in a closing title. “After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.”
The reconfigured “Fight Club” is presented in China by Tencent Video, a streaming subsidiary of Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY. The Chinese rights to the film are held by Pacific Audio & Video Co., an affiliate of the state-owned Guangdong TV, and Bloomberg cited “an unnamed person familiar with the matter” that the Chinese government approved the re-editing before the film was streamed.
The U.S. rights to “Fight Club” belong to the Walt Disney Co. DIS, which acquired the property in its 2019 acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Neither Tencent nor Disney commented on the re-editing.
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What Else Happened: While it is not uncommon for international films to be edited prior to their release in China, changing well-known films years after they were first seen is a new trend.
“Fight Club” is the latest American film to have its ending changed by Chinese censors. The 2005 film “Lord of War” starring Nicholas Cage had a more extreme reconfiguration, with its final 30 minutes removed and replaced with an intertitle that insisted the central character, an arms smuggler, had “confessed all the crimes officially charged against him in court, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in the end.”
Photo: Brad Pitt (center) as Tyler in “Fight Club,” courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
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