Last month, an alternate, censored ending to the ’90s classic Fight Club went viral on social media. In it, the actual ending — where Edward Norton’s Narrator observes the destruction that his alternate personality, Tyler Durden, has wrought on the American banking industry — had been replaced by a title card that read “Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the plan and arrested all the criminals, successfully preventing the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.” Hooray, a happy ending!
Original Fight Club novelist Chuck Palahniuk already weighed in on the absurd changes, but the film’s director, David Fincher, had yet to respond until today. He gave his response to the drastically altered finale to Empire. Here’s how he took it:
If you don’t like this story, why would you license this movie? It makes no sense to me when people go, ‘I think it would be good for our service if we had your title on it … we just want it to be a different movie.’ The f—ing movie is 20 years old. It’s not like it had a reputation for being super cuddly.
He also revealed how this alternate version existed — and no, it wasn’t a bootleg or some violation of the copyright. Fincher told Empire that a company (he didn’t specify who) licensed to the movie to be shown in China, and their contract included a clause that state that “cuts may be made for censorship purposes.” It didn’t specify that the ending might be totally changed — but according to the letter of the contract, they could do it. Don’t be surprised if the people involved in these kind of deals have to update their paperwork to ensure that “censorship purposes” does not involve changing a movie that meant one thing to mean something totally different.
But at least that solves the mystery. If you would like to watch the unedited ending of Fight Club, the movie is currently streaming on Hulu and Paramount+.
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