Chinese audiences watching Minions: The Rise of Gru got a slightly different cinematic experience than other viewers worldwide.
The Guardian reports that censors in China edited the ending of the animated film ahead of its domestic release, a decision that was heavily criticized by viewers.
The international version of the prequel ends with Gru and his evil mentor Wild Knuckles riding off together after it’s revealed that the latter faked his own death to avoid being apprehended by authorities. Presumably, tween Gru becomes the dastardly villain we see in later films.
The Chinese version, however, tells a different story. The censored version of Minions: Rise of Gru ends with a statement that Wild Knuckles was swiftly caught by police and served 20 years in jail.
MOVIEWEB VIDEO OF THE DAY
The addendum went on to explain that young Gru “returned home to his family,” eventually “became one of the good guys,” and that “his biggest accomplishment is being the father to his three girls.”
Screenshots of the alternate ending—told by a series of subtitled still images inserted into the credits sequence—circulated on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter.
DuSir, a popular Weibo film reviewer, called attention to the fact that the Chinese version ran a minute longer than its international counterpart and questioned why it was needed. “It’s only us who need special guidance and care for fear that a cartoon will ‘corrupt’ us,” the reviewer wrote.
Minions: Rise of Gru is Not First U.S. Film to Receive Censored Ending
Fox 2000 Pictures
One of the biggest films of the summer internationally, it came as a surprise when it was announced that Minions: Rise of Gru would be showing in Chinese cinemas at all. With China limiting the number of overseas films that can appear in domestic theaters, the Despicable Me prequel was the first U.S. film since June’s Jurassic World: Dominion to hit the Chinese market.
But Minions: Rise of Gru is not the first film to fall victim to China’s extremely strict censorship laws. Earlier this year, users of the Chinese streaming site Tencent Video noticed changes had been made to the ending of the 1999 classic Fight Club.
Instead of the explosive original ending, another PowerPoint-esque script added that police “rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding.”
The original ending was eventually restored by Tencent after criticism from Fight Club’s director and the author of the novel it was based on.
Huaxia Film Distribution and China Film Co, the Chinese distributors for Minions: The Rise of Gru, have not responded to requests for comment.