Original 'Fight Club' ending restored in China after online backlash

AFP , Monday 7 Feb 2022

The original, iconic ending of cult US film Fight Club has been restored to screens in China after a censored version that brought all criminals to book sparked outrage online.

Fight Club

Beijing has some of the world's most restrictive censorship rules with authorities only approving a handful of foreign films for release each year -- sometimes with major cuts.

But reversing endings is rare, and there was widespread anger after censors replaced the original finale of Fight Club on a version streaming on platform Tencent Video.

In the original closing scenes, star Edward Norton's narrator kills his imaginary alter-ego Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, before watching multiple buildings explode, suggesting his character's plan to bring down modern civilisation.

But the version on Tencent instead closed with a line of text on a black screen to say the police "rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals".

In a rare censorship reversal, however, Tencent this week began to air the original conclusion of David Fincher's film, including the iconic explosive ending that was trimmed last month.

The ending in which the state triumphs had sparked head scratching and outrage among some Chinese viewers -- many of whom would likely have seen pirated versions of the unadulterated film.

Human Rights Watch described the cuts as "dystopian".

Author Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote the 1996 novel that Fight Club was adapted from, tweeted that China had "done the right thing".

Tencent did not reply to questions on what led to the censorship, nor its abrupt reversal, which prompted more debate online.

"Now, I'm speechless!" wrote one Chinese film fan, with the sentiment echoed across social media.

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