In China, the1999 movie Fight Club starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter was censored. The ending was changed and a lot of people were angry about it. But one person not angry with the Fight Club censorship was the author of the original novel Chuck Palahniuk.
Fight Club Censored in China
In the original movie, the main protagonist (Norton) watches as the buildings blow up with his love interest. With a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his mouth. Yes it is very gory but its an iconic scene when they watch the city blow up.
But in the novel which the movie is based off of, the buildings never blow up. The main protagonist (His name is never provided) is stopped and ends up in an asylum. David Fincher, the director of the movie, went for the more explosive ending (literally.)
China brought it all back to square one by censoring the final scene. Instead of letting the ending play, their were subtitles that said:
“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.”Fight Club ending in China subtitles
China obviously was a big fan of the original novel and wanted to honor the source material. As if. I found out today that China makes sure every show or movie has to have a good ending. The bad guys always have to be punished and the good guys have to win. Yes, that is as shocking as it sounds.
While a lot of people were outraged by this move, Chuck Palahniuk was not. He was actually happy that China’s ending matched the ending to the novel.
“The irony is that the way the Chinese have changed it is they’ve aligned the ending almost exactly with the ending of the book, as opposed to Fincher’s ending, which was the more spectacular visual ending,” Palahniuk said. “So in a way, the Chinese brought the movie back to the book a little bit.”Chuck Palahniuk
If Palahniuk is happy with the censorship, then I think we have no right to complain. If you didn’t’ already know, Fight Club is one of my all-time favorite movie and novel. I enjoyed both of them because they offered different experiences and were well written. But I am not a fan of censorship. If it was up to me, I would want to see what the movie was in its original format.
What I found funny was Palahniuk’s second remark about the censorship. He points out that his novel is also banned in the U.S. and not just China. Here’s this outcry of censorship from China but as I have pointed out before, the United States censors novels left and right. Here’s Palahniuk’s quote on that.
“What I find really interesting is that my books are heavily banned throughout the U.S.,” he said. “The Texas prison system refuses to carry my books in their libraries. A lot of public schools and most private schools refuse to carry my books. But it’s only an issue once China changes the end of a movie? I’ve been putting up with book banning for a long time.”Chuck Palahniuk
I agree with what Palahniuk is saying here. The U.S. censors a lot itself and nobody bats and eye. But we make it a big deal when other countries do it. Even publishers from overseas have asked the author to change the ending of Fight Club to match the movie.
“A lot of my overseas publishers have edited the novel so the novel ends the way the movie ends,” Palahniuk said. “So I’ve been dealing with this kind of revision for like 25 years.”Chuck Palahniuk