5 Times Movies Were Edited for China Release

By Lars James Hamer, January 28, 2022

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Movie lovers went into meltdown this week after David Fincher’s 1999 cult film Fight Club was given a brand-new ending exclusively for its Chinese audience. The blockbuster was edited so that it met Chinese guidelines and could be broadcast on Tencent Video, one of China’s largest streaming websites.

The original ending of Fight Club sees actor Edward Norton kill his psychotic alter-ego Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) moments before his gang of revolutionists blow up the country’s banking and credit card system. The movie itself is a middle finger to consumer capitalism and the ending is the beginning of a revolution against modern day capitalism.

Rather than watching the buildings get blown to pieces, viewers who opt to watch the movie on Tencent Video will have to make do with this:

220126000240-fight-club-ending-censorship-china-exlarge-169.jpegScreengrab via Tencent Video

This new ending left Chinese fans of the original the movie baffled, arguing that the film itself is largely in line with Chinese values (bringing an end to capitalism and ushering in a new wave of socialism). However, modern day China is very much against any form of revolution and fighting authority, which probably explains why they made the edit.

Also, whoever made this alternate ending really dropped the ball. They keep referring to 'Tyler' who isn't real, he is a figment of Norton's character's imagination. Tyler started appearing during Norton's character's breakdown. Also, moments before the film ends Tyler is 'killed'... how the hell can he be sent to a lunatic asylum??

Anyway, the whole palaver got us thinking, what other wacky edits have been made to ensure a movie gets released in China? Here’s our favorite five.

The Shape of Water (2018)

sadf.jpgImage via Weibo, h/t SupChina

This one is a personal favorite of mine. In the movie there is a vital scene where protagonist Elisa is stood nude in front of her soon-to-be alien lover. The scene has been edited with black shadows which make it look as if she is wearing a dark colored dress. When realizing the scene had been edited the internet reacted superbly. Weibo users began cropping black dresses on to a host of different movie characters.

Read more: Chinese 'Shape of Water' Screenings Cover Up Nudity, Netizens Respond

Red Dawn (2012)

EaeRBosWAAAmSro.jpegImage via Twitter

Originally, Red Dawn was going to have China be the movie’s bad guys. The picture was all set, China's army sweeping through the United States with red communist flags flying high. Perfect. However, one smart cookie in the executive team realized that casting China in such a way would mean they could never tap into the goldmine that is the Chinese film market. The editing team later digitally changed all the Chinese flags into the North Korean flag, problem solved! If only these geniuses wrote the movie, it might have been worth watching.

Titanic (1997)

FJkBtf-XMAY9kKF.jpegImage via Twitter

Despite being a massive hit in the Middle Kingdom, Titanic was also edited so that it could meet broadcasting standards. Due to the country’s zero tolerance policy on anything pornographic, when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jack paints Kate Winslet as one of his “French girls,” the shot where you see her breast is cut entirely. If only they had a black swimsuit.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

E2N10KbXEAQKnMG.jpegImage via Twitter

Hong Kong actor Chow Yun Fat played the movie’s villain Captain Sao Feng. However, almost all of his scenes in the movie were cut. It was not only argued that the film portrayed him as a racist Asian stereotype, but the Chinese film board did not want the movie’s villain to be Chinese, therefore showing the country in a bad light.

Skyfall (2012)


Image via Twitter

We all know the Bond franchise is famous for fast cars, Bond girls, martinis and… fighting Chinese people? In Skyfall, and other Bond films, there are numerous scenes where Bond is fighting Chinese characters, but these were all removed from the versions that were released in Chinese cinemas. These edits don’t change anything about the story, but it does show what length film makers will go to for a release in the biggest movie market in the world.

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[Cover image via Twitter]

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