Edward Norton (52) as the nameless protagonist stands in front of collapsing skyscrapers with Helena Bonham Carter (55) aka Marla Singer. In the background, the Pixies sing “Where Is My Mind?” That’s how “Fight Club”, the modern classic from 1999, ends. Just not in China. The cult film with Brad Pitt (58) was released there with a defused ending.
For the first time since its China premiere in 1999 at the Shanghai International Film Festival, “Fight Club” can be seen again in the Middle Kingdom. The film recently started on the domestic streaming platform Tencent Video. But with a mangled and meaningless ending. This was reported by several media, for example the film magazine “Collider”.
Tyler Durden ends up in a psychiatric ward
The death of Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), the alter ego of the nameless narrator, is missing, as is the final destruction of the financial district. Instead, a text overlay explains the development of the plot:
“Through Tyler’s tip, the police quickly figured out the whole plan, arrested all the criminals, and successfully prevented the bomb from detonating. After the trial, Tyler was committed to a mental institution where he received psychological treatment. He was discharged from the clinic in 2012.”
“Fight Club” with its “happy ending” is an extreme example, but it’s not the first film to be censored in China. All western films are checked by the state censorship. Nudity, violence or politically problematic scenes are removed. In the Freddie Mercury biography “Bohemian Rhapsody”, for example, all references to the Queen singer’s homosexuality were deleted.
Hollywood films often censor themselves out of anticipatory obedience in order to have a chance in the huge Chinese market.