I saw Fight Club show up in my feed the other day and at first I was like, oh f-ck, are they rebooting it? Fight Club is a cult classic, a movie that can be quoted, even if you haven’t seen it. Sometimes I think that half the people who say “don’t talk about Fight Club” may not have actually seen Fight Club. The movie is pure Gen X, my generation. There are all kinds of interpretations on its theme but one of the reasons it became so popular, after its theatrical run, is because it captured the disaffected mood of the people from that generation:
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy sh-t we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
Then we chased more cars and clothes and kept buying sh-t we don’t need, including homes, driving up housing prices and home renovation costs – that was pure Gen X too, but in the decade that would follow Fight Club.
So was Fight Club in the news this week because Hollywood was trying to do it this time for Gen Z and the TikTokers? I can’t be the only one who assumed it, but that actually wasn’t the reason. This was:
David Fincherâ€™s 1999 â€œFight Clubâ€ is at the center of a social media firestorm in China after a new version replaced the original ending with a terse message saying all criminals were apprehended and the authorities won https://t.co/vTqAivdkp8 pic.twitter.com/4CUDTn03tG— Bloomberg (@business) January 26, 2022
I mean, it’s hardly surprising. What’s more surprising, at least to me, is that people were allowed to criticise the censorship on social media. Or maybe those posts have been pulled down by now.
So far no one involved with the film has commented but of course it will be interesting, next time someone has an opportunity with David Fincher, to ask him what he thinks of this new ending. Or if he’ll even respond at all, considering Hollywood’s long courtship of China which has been increasing strained. In late December, THR published a report on how “Hollywood’s China Relationship [Has] Finally Unravelled” as big movies that were hoping for a Chinese audience and a piece of that Chinese box office were not given a release. As noted in the article:
“Hollywood’s silence on [China’s reported human rights abuses] has become deafening as other industries and entities have begun to confront China.”
Here’s the paragraph that most relates to this post right now:
“As Hollywood’s risk-reward calculus for China starts to get muddier and muddier, there’s a move for an entity, whether it’s a celebrity, athlete or company, to essentially do what Muhammad Ali did, which is to take a direct hit, short-term, on revenue but longterm create a brand that’s bigger than what they were originally known for,” says Blockers producer Chris Fenton, whose 2020 book, Feeding the Dragon: Inside the Trillion Dollar Dilemma Facing Hollywood, the NBA, & American Business, explored the China minefield.
Some athletes have been outspoken on China. But where Hollywood movie stars are concerned – will there be one who takes a stand?
On that note, here’s Brad Pitt, one of the stars of Fight Club, in downtown LA this week. He was last in China in 2018 at a Breitling event. He’s now the brand’s ambassador and China is a huge market for luxury.
PS. I sure hope I can keep posting on my site and that it doesn’t go down, but you know, if it does, well, please know it’s been fun.