‘Fight Club’ Writer Responds to China’s Censored Ending
Chuck Palahniuk, who penned the novel Fight Club, has responded to China’s censored version of the 1999 film of the same name. When the film is streamed in China, it features a re-edited ending of David Fincher’s iconic film designed to pass muster with Chinese censors.
Upon its release, Fight Club was met with polarizing critical response and a lackluster audience turnout. Since then, the movie has become a cult classic, praised for its boundary-pushing style and biting social satire. The film stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt as two men who form a "fight club” in order to experience cathartic release from their mundane, unfulfilling lives. The club eventually morphs into the cult-like Project Mayhem, which seeks to disrupt corporate America by demolishing buildings that hold credit card records. By the end of the film, they succeed.
This conclusion didn’t fly in China, and the explosions were removed by sensors. In their place, a title card detailing the authorities’ victory and the hospitalization of Norton's character. Uh.... happily ever after?
“This is SUPER wonderful! Everyone gets a happy ending in China!” Palahniuk wrote in his post. The author elaborated on his message via his Substack: “Tyler and the gang were all arrested. He was tried and sentenced to a mental asylum. How amazing. I’d no idea! Justice always wins. Nothing ever exploded. Fini.”
This isn’t the first time an American film has been altered for Chinese audiences, but this specific instance is particularly ironic. The original ending of Fight Club isn’t a joyous one — Project Mayhem may complete their mission, but their means of overthrowing materialist, corporate America are still wildly controversial. But the fact that a real-life government authority intervened to restore its power in the narrative? That just cements the point Fight Club was trying to make in the first place.