‘Fight Club’ Has an Entirely Different Ending in China

by Clayton Edwards

Well, it looks like we’re going to break Rule Number One here and talk about Fight Club. Needless to say, there will be huge spoilers for the film going forward. However, David Fincher’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel hit American theaters in 1999. So, we’re just going to assume if you’re reading this you’ve seen the movie or don’t care about spoilers.

The film builds in intensity from its opening frames. There, we see the Narrator slogging through his day job. Later, he meets Tyler Durden. That’s when things start to change. The two move in together and soon form an underground fight club. At the same time, both characters begin a strained relationship with Marla Singer.

By the end of the film, we and the Narrator learn that Tyler isn’t real. Instead, he’s the Narrator’s alter ego. However, Project Mayhem, a domestic terrorist cell created through their fight club, is real. Also, the explosives they planted in several financial buildings are very real.

In the final moments of the film, “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies plays as Marla and the Narrator hold hands and witness the explosions. If Project Mayhem’s plan was a success, the bombs destroyed the nation’s credit card debt along with the buildings. It’s a hauntingly beautiful payoff and, without dialogue, examines the freedom and uncertainty of the future on both a macro and micro level. 

Recently, Fight Club hit Tencent Video, a Chinese streaming service. Film critic Courtney Howard tweeted a screenshot of the film’s censored ending.

Chinese Fight Club Fans Were Robbed

Instead of the reveal about Tyler not being real and the cathartic ending, Chinese Fight Club fans got a black screen with text. The text reads, “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 [a] lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.”

This doesn’t just change the fact that Project Mayhem was successful in their strike. It also changes the very nature of Fight Club. From the beginning, the film offers small hints that Tyler isn’t what he appears to be. In fact, there are times when, on a second (or tenth, no judgment) watch, the film seems to all but spell out the truth.

Why China Changed the Ending

According to Mashable, this is a common practice in China. The country’s National People’s Congress passed the Film Industry Promotion Law in 2016. This law allows provides for the censorship of films that the Chinese government believes will harm national dignity, endanger national security, or disturb the social order.