China’s ‘Fight Club’ Censored Ending Restored After Widespread Backlash

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David Fincher’s “Fight Club” has been restored in China to include the original ending after Tencent Video’s censorship of the final fight scene sparked a backlash.

Before the Chinese streaming service began airing the 1999 Brad Pitt classic last month, Ed Norton’s narrator killed off his imaginary alter ego Tyler Durden (Pitt), but not before Tyler had successfully completed his plan to destroy the global financial system by having his secret organization, Project Mayhem, blow up several buildings containing credit card statements.

In the film’s final scene, the narrator and his girlfriend Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) are reunited and hold hands as they watch Project Mayhem’s bombs explode and send skyscrapers crashing down on Earth. Then, in a reference to an earlier scene in which Tyler stitches together shots of pornographic films on reels in movie theaters, a few shots of a man’s penis are briefly seen before the credits roll.

But, to follow strict Chinese censorship rules that require criminals to be arrested, the ending was completely changed. Replacing the climactic scene was a black screen with the message, “The police quickly figured out the whole plan and arrested all the criminals, successfully stopping the bomb from going off. After the trial, Tyler was sent to an insane asylum to receive psychological treatment. He was released from hospital in 2012.

The censorship caused an uproar in China among its moviegoers and the news quickly spread around the world, causing embarrassment in the country. Eleven of the approximately 12 minutes cut were re-edited, with only the final shot of full-frontal nudity and a few sex scenes between Norton and Bonham Carter left out.

Censorship of American movies and TV shows at the behest of Chinese authorities has become common as Hollywood has made inroads into the country over the past decade. Last year, an episode of “The Simpsons” in which the titular family visits China was pulled from Disney+ in Hong Kong because of a joke made in the film about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the censorship of the event by the Chinese government.

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