Movie fans were outraged over the weekend after observing China's latest censorship plot, which in this case was the drastic altering of David Fincher's 1999 film, "Fight Club," to make it so that, in the end, the criminals are arrested and the authorities win.
In the original version of the cult classic — starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter — the Narrator, played by Norton, kills off his alter ego Tyler Durden, played by Pitt, setting off a chain of explosions that destroy all bank and credit records, effectively ending consumerism and resetting the economy.
But that's not what viewers experience when watching the film on Tencent Video, a popular Chinese streaming service. In China's altered version, the film's ending is cut short ahead of the explosion scene, and viewers are informed in a short, to-the-point caption that Project Mayhem was foiled by the state and all criminals were arrested.
"Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012," the caption read, according to Vice.
Vice noted it remains unclear whether the ending was altered under self-censorship or by government order, adding that Tencent Video declined to comment on the news.
But a source familiar with the matter reportedly told the news outlet that the film was edited by the copyright owner and approved by the government before it was sold to streaming sites for distribution. Furthermore, the Chinese publisher of the film, Pacific Audio & Video Co., is an affiliate of Guangdong TV, a state-owned television station.
Hong Kong Free Press noted in its coverage of the news that China has some of the world's strictest censorship rules. The communist country only approves a handful of foreign films for release every year, and often requires that major edits are made.
Film fans reportedly erupted in mockery after viewing the new ending, the Hong Kong news outlet reported.
"This is too outrageous," one viewer commented, while another said the edit is proof that Chinese authorities "don’t just delete scenes, but add to the plot too."
"There is no point watching this film without that scene," another person commented on the Twitter-like site Weibo, according to VICE.
Still another commenter quipped, "Probably 'Ocean’s 11' would have all been arrested. 'The Godfather’s' entire family would end up in jail."
China's censorship practices were also the subject of controversy late last year when Disney drew headlines for removing an anti-China episode from its "Simpsons" catalog in Hong Kong.
In the episode, which was first broadcast in 2005, the fictional cartoon family ridicules the country during a trip to mainland China, where they visit the mummified body of notorious former Chairman Mao Zedong and Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Fight Club (1999) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers www.youtube.com