When a country attempts to fully control its people, outside influences must be managed.
Censors have altered the ending of the recent animated film Minions: The Rise of Gru for its domestic release in China, social media users across the country noticed over the weekend.
The editing is yet another example of Chinese authorities editing a popular Hollywood film to make it more politically correct, leading some viewers to lament the changes.
According to posts and screenshots from the movie shared on Weibo, a platform similar to Twitter, censors tacked on an addendum in which Wild Knuckles, a main character in the heist film, was caught by police and served 20 years in jail.
Gru, a co-conspirator of Wild Knuckles “returned to his family” and “his biggest accomplishment is being the father to his three girls,” screenshots of the film showed.
In the international version, the film ends with Gru and Wild Knuckles, the story’s two thief anti-heroes, riding off together after Wild Knuckles faked his own death to evade capture from authorities.
Numerous online commentators mocked the addendum, saying it resembled a power-point presentation.
DuSir, an online movie review publisher with 14.4 million followers on Weibo, noted that the Chinese version of the film runs one minute longer than the international version and questioned why the extra minute was needed.
“It’s only us who need special guidance and care, for fear that a cartoon will ‘corrupt’ us,” DuSir wrote in a piece published Saturday.
Universal Pictures, the film’s U.S. distributor, did not respond to a request for comment outside of normal business hours.
Huaxia Film Distribution Co and China Film Co, the film’s distributors in China, did not respond to a request for comment.
China places a quota on the number of overseas movies that can be shown in domestic movie theaters. Many Hollywood films that screen in the country have certain scenes omitted or altered.
At times, some viewers note, alternate endings to films diverge far from the original.
Last year, Chinese viewers of the classic 1999 film Fight Club noticed that the original ending, in which the protagonist and his alter ego detonate a set of skyscrapers, was not on the version shown on domestic streaming site Tencent Video.
Instead, an on-screen script said police “rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding”.
The changes were widely mocked among Chinese fans of the original film, and even elicited responses from the film’s director and the author of the novel it was based on. Tencent later restored the original ending.
This movie sent a horrible message to kids… just like the old movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s sent a horrible message to mothers…
Big Brother lives