China censors ending of new Minions movie

Minions: The Rise of Gru premiered in China on Friday, with Gru’s origin story having an alternate ending: he “becomes one of the good guys.”

china minions the rise of gru cinema

What do Minions and Fight Club have in common? Authorities in China decided to rewrite their endings.

Who knew the Despicable Me franchise would become a political touchstone, but here we are. The Chinese Communist Party are evidently weary of the ramifications of letting a budding cartoon supervillain ride off into the sunset. Cinema goers might see this and take inspiration – planting the seeds of lawlessness and civil disobedience in a kiddy cartoon is a slippery slope. 

Today it’s Gru, tomorrow it’s Tiananmen Square.   

As laughably sinister as this kind of censorship is, I cannot help but admire how elaborate the rewritten endings are. Instead of – as the original movie goes – Gru and his villain-mentor Wild Knuckles riding off into the sunset, Gru “returns to his family” where raising three young girls was his “biggest accomplishment.”

Wild Knuckles’ alternative fate is better still. He is jailed after a failed attempt at capturing the ‘zodiac stone’, and while in jail, he discovers a love of acting, setting up a theatrical troupe. Maybe, since the CCP clearly encourages dramatic pursuits, they could have just let the cartoon end as it was meant to?

Anyway, it’s not just the censorship that has irked people, but the shoddy way it is deemed to have been done. Screenshots of the film, shared on Chinese site Weibo, showed a series of subtitled still images added to the credits sequence.

BBC reports that the change was “derided by many in China,” with people saying the “alternate ending conveniently promoted China’s three-child policy, as the country tries to raise its birth rate. The subtitled stills were also widely compared to PowerPoint presentation slides in quality.”

DuSir, a movie blogger with over 14 million followers on Weibo, described the changes as “outrageous,” further questioning why Chinese people needed “special guidance and care”.

“How weak and lacking judgement do they think our audiences are?” he asked.Other than the whole censorship lark, the premiere of Minions was a success in China. Deadline reports it grossed a domestic pandemic record of roughly 21.74m yuan (£2.7m) on its opening day.

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