Instead of the villains getting away scot-free, one gets a prison sentence, and the other a change of heart, courtesy of the film’s new PowerPoint-style still image finale.
Evidently, Chinese authorities thought the ending of Illumination and Universal Picture’s Minions: The Rise of Gru to be unsuitable for the nation’s audiences, so… they completely changed it.
In the original (Spoiler Alert!), the villain Wild Knuckles gets away with his crimes by faking his own death and driving off with young anti-hero Gru. This is, after all, a film about villains.
Not in China, however. Instead of the animated comedy’s actual ending, the new censored version finishes with a PowerPoint-style series of still images with overlain script, showing Wild Knuckles serving 20 years in prison, and young Gru, with a change of heart, becoming one of the “good guys.” Chinese social media users posted images on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter, with the overlain script stating, “In jail, [Wild Knuckles] pursued his love of acting and started his own theater troupe,” while Gru returns to his family where his “biggest accomplishment is being a father to his three girls.”
HA this is new: At the end of the Chinese cinema version of the latest Minions movie, the villain-turned-hero character Wild Knuckles didn't escape by fake suicide as in the global version, but was caught by police and served 20 years. Also, the "Despicable" Gru became a good guy pic.twitter.com/Wih5pcO5tI
— Zeyi Yang (@ZeyiYang) August 22, 2022
Universal did not respond to a request for comment, according to Reuters.
This is only the latest animation Chinese censors have taken interest in. Business Insider reports the country has already banned numerous cartoons, such as the “violent and vulgar” shows My Little Pony, Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures, and Peppa Pig.
China isn’t the only country to censor American animation of late. Pixar’s Lightyear, celebrated in the West for its inclusive representation, was banned in 14 Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries due to the brief, chaste, same-sex kiss between the Buzz’s female colleague, Alisha Hawthorne, and her wife.
Minions: The Rise of Gru, the fifth film in the Despicable Me franchise, has generated more than $835 million at the global box office since it’s June 23 release. The movie is produced by Illumination founder and CEO, Chris Meledandri, and his longtime collaborators Janet Healy and Chris Renaud. The film is directed by returning franchise filmmaker Kyle Balda (Despicable Me 3, Minions), and co-directed by Brad Ableson (The Simpsons) and Jonathan del Val (The Secret Life of Pets films).