Warning: This post contains spoilers for Fight Club, both the 1999 film and the novel that inspired it.
On Tuesday, word broke that the version of Fight Club, the anarchic, anti-capitalist screed starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, streaming in China is not the one streaming anywhere else. Instead, it has a different ending. Instead of buildings being destroyed, it cuts abruptly to a Poochie-esque title card explaining that our hero was arrested and jailed.
Reaction to it online was a mix of horror and amusement. One person who was semi-facetiously semi-delighted was Chuck Palahniuk, author of the 1996 novel that inspired the film. He told TMZ (as caught by Entertainment Weekly) that he actually kind of liked this new, censored version because, well, it’s very similar to the way the book concludes.
“The irony is that the way the Chinese have changed it is they’ve aligned the ending almost exactly with the ending of the book, as opposed to [director David] Fincher’s ending, which was the more spectacular visual ending,” he told the publication. “So in a way, the Chinese brought the movie back to the book a little bit.”
Mind you, the censored version isn’t exactly how the novel ends. In that one, Tyler Durden, having killed off his mischievous alter ego (in the film played by Pitt), winds up in a mental hospital, where he discovers some of his followers have become employees, hoping to start things back up again.
The version streaming in China, meanwhile, has a more “crime doesn’t pay” conclusion. “The police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding.,” the tite card reads. “After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.”
FIGHT CLUB’s ending for the Chinese release (on Tencent Video) was changed to this and now I’m waiting for someone to fanfic a sequel based on this censored ending. pic.twitter.com/zYB0bY3Dlp
— Courtney Howard @ #Sundance (@Lulamaybelle) January 24, 2022
At least this strange affair led to Ted Cruz being once again dragged for his movie opinions.