The version of the film available to watch on Tencent, however, features an amended ending apparently because the original’s anarchist message proved too disruptive for Chinese censors.
In the original, The Narrator (Norton) kills off his imaginary alter ego Tyler (Pitt) and then watches multiple buildings explode, suggesting his character’s plan to bring down modern civilisation is underway.
In the Chinese version of the hit film, the exploding scene is replaced with a black screen reading: “The police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding.” It also states that Tyler was sent to a “lunatic system” for treatment.
Palahniuk – who wrote the novel in 1996 – has responded to the rewriting of his story with a sarcastic endorsement.
“Tyler and the gang were all arrested. He was tried and sentenced to a mental asylum. How amazing,” wrote the author in his newsletter, which is released on Substack.
“I’d no idea! Justice always wins. Nothing ever exploded. Fini.”
Palahniuk shared a link to his Substack on Twitter, accompanied by the caption: “Have You Seen This Sh*t? This is SUPER wonderful! Everyone gets a happy ending in China!”
The change has also sparked outrage among fans of the novel and film.
“This s*** sucks,” wrote one person on Twitter. “Companies shouldn’t completely change the intent and purpose of films just to sell out in Chinese markets.”
It is not clear who exactly is responsible for the change. The Independent has contacted Tencent Video for comment.