Explosive ‘Fight Club’ Ending Restored in China After Public Ire

By BLOOMBERG / Pic Credit: Photo by Merrick Morton/20th Century Fox

Tencent Video subscribers in China can now watch the unabridged version of 1999’s “Fight Club,” after a social media furor erupted over a censored version that replaced its original ending with a line of on-screen text declaring all criminals were brought to justice.

The movie’s original denouement is marked by a series of explosions intended to destroy all bank and credit records, resetting the economy and liberating people from their consumption-heavy lifestyles. That iconic scene was radically altered when the film first became available on Chinese streaming sites last month, replaced by a silent line of text saying the protagonist Tyler Durden had helped police thwart the plot. The stark reconfiguration drew the ire of film fans online and followed similar edits to other U.S. films, such as “Lord of War.” The South China Morning Post reported the restoration of the “Fight Club” ending on Sunday.

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A Tencent Holdings Ltd. spokesperson declined to comment. The rights to the film in China are held by Pacific Audio & Video Co., an affiliate of the state-owned Guangdong TV, according to an earlier Vice report.

Foreign filmmakers have watered down or altered content for years to get past Beijing censors, but it’s rare for entire endings to get reversed — particularly on older films that millions would have seen pirated copies of already. Tencent Video subscribers mocked the overhaul for distorting the original film’s message and intent. Based on Chuck Palahniuk’s book by the same name, “Fight Club” culminates in the unnamed narrator killing off his alter-ego Durden before the bombs detonated.