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‘Fight Club’ author reacts to film edit: “Everyone gets a happy ending in China”

Chuck Palahniuk appeared bemused by the alterations

By Charlotte Krol

A still of a scene from David Fincher's 'Fight Club'
Fight Club (Picture: Press)

The author of the 1996 novel ‘Fight Club’ has responded to the news that a version of the 1999 film adaptation shown in China has a different ending.

Chuck Palahniuk appeared to find the censorship both funny and bewildering, writing on his Twitter with a link to a report: “Have You Seen This Sh*t? This is SUPER wonderful! Everyone gets a happy ending in China!”

On his Substack he wrote, “Tyler Durden ends up in a lunatic asylum?!” before adding, “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.”

Chinese streaming platform Tencent Video is airing a version of the film where The Narrator (Ed Norton) doesn’t preside over numerous buildings exploding. In the censored version the explosion scene is cut entirely – and the authorities win.

Inter-titles inform viewers that police foiled Durden’s plan and defused the bombs. Durden is, as the new version would have it, sent to a psychiatric hospital and eventually released in 2012.

China’s strict rules on censorship is thought to be the reason for the edited ending although it’s unclear who is responsible for the altered storyline. Tencent Video has declined to comment.

It’s common for imported films to fall foul of the country’s strict censorship laws, which are in place in order for the ruling Communist Party to block any content that it deems immoral.

The ‘Fight Club’ revisions were met with widespread ridicule on Chinese social media. Writing on the microblogging site Weibo, one commenter said: “Probably ‘Ocean’s 11’ would have all been arrested. ‘The Godfather’s’ entire family would end up in jail.” Another felt that “there is no point watching this film without that scene.”

Also available via Tencent is ‘Lord of War’, Andrew Niccol’s 2005 crime drama film starring Nicolas Cage as an arms dealer who, in the film’s climactic scene, evades jail time and returns to criminality.

‘Fight Club’, directed by David Fincher, also stars Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto, Holt McCallany and Zach Grenier.

It was nominated for the 2000 Academy Award for Best Sound Editing but lost to ‘The Matrix’. Bonham Carter won the Empire Award for Best British Actress.