The most recent Despicable Me instalment made its global debut on Friday in China, but as local viewers soon discovered, it had a different ending.
Minions: The Rise of Gru, which follows the antihero during his teenage years, lays the groundwork for Gru’s transformation into a supervillain later in the series.
However, unlike the original movie, the Chinese version does not end with Gru and his companion, Wild Knuckles, galloping out into the distance.
As a substitute, Wild Knuckles is sent to jail, and Gru “becomes one of the decent ones.”
According to remarks and pictures of the film shared on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, censors placed a number of subtitled still photos into the credits sequence.
The upbringing of his three daughters, however, was Gru’s “biggest triumph” after he “returned to his family.”
The change was mocked by many Chinese. The real narrative lies in a parallel reality, according to one commenter.
Some others stated that Gru’s alternate ending unintentionally supported China’s three-child policy, which the country is aiming to enact in order to increase its birth rate. It was frequently said that the quality of the subtitled stills was comparable to PowerPoint slides.
Despite this, the fifth movie in the series was a box office success, making a record-breaking 21.74 million yuan ($3.2 million; £2.7 million) on its opening day in China, according to the entertainment website Deadline.
In China, which has some of the strictest censorship restrictions in the world, the ending of a well-known international film has been altered before.
In a version of the film released earlier this year on the Chinese streaming site Tencent Video, the finale of the 1999 cult hit Fight Club, in which the protagonist blows up numerous skyscrapers, was replaced by a message declaring that the authorities prevailed and saved the day.
Even Chuck Palahniuk, whose 1996 novel served as the inspiration for the movie, and director David Fincher responded to criticism of the changes. Human Rights Watch called the amended epilogue “dystopian” after reading it.
Later, Tencent reversed most of the changes, keeping only the ones that affected nudity-related content.