A new version of Fight Club is available for streaming on Tencent Video.
In the original ending, the protagonist of the film played by Edward Norton (the Narrator), killed his fictional alter ego Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, before watching some buildings explode, while in the background the song Where is my Mind by the Pixies played.
Update (02/07/2022): Tencent has reinstated the original ending of Fight Club after a censored version last month sparked backlash.
In the new ending uploaded to Tencent Video, things are very different. The scene of the terrorist attack has been entirely removed, and has been replaced by a black screen with a much more bureaucratic message stating “Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested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 message then adds “After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012”.
According to the new ending, the film’s anarchic and anti-capitalist message has thus been mutilated as the state triumphs as it always should in a model nation.
The censorship was not appreciated by some Chinese cinephiles who have harshly commented on the choice of Tencent Video, declaring it “outrageous”, because it not only censors the original film but even upsets the plot.
According to the Guardian, it is unclear whether the order came from the Chinese authorities, or whether it is an excess of zeal on the part of Tencent. The film’s Chinese publisher, Pacific Audio & Video Co., is a subsidiary of state-owned Guangdong TV. Disney, owner of the 20th Century Fox film production company, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Vice. The film has never been shown in Chinese cinemas, aside from a presentation at the Shanghai International Film Festival, but is readily available on the black market in a pirated version.
It is of course not the first time that Western films have been censored or modified in some way to reach the Chinese market. In 2019, the Bohemian Rhapsody film was heavily edited to remove inappropriate references to Freddy Mercury’s sexuality. The China-released version of the film Lord of War, starring Nichola Cage, is 30 minutes shorter, and the ending, again, has been replaced by a message stating that the criminal has been sentenced to life in prison.
In fact, according to the guidelines of the presidency of Xi Jinping, the Chinese authorities must monitor and eliminate elements deemed unhealthy or immoral from films, television, and video games. Tattoos and rap have also ended up in the censorship network.
Additionally, on Tuesday, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced that it has launched a month-long web campaign to create a “civilized and healthy” atmosphere online during the Lunar New Year holidays.