The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. The first rule of writing about Fight Club is that you open every article with that quote. Sorry, we don’t make the rules; we just rigidly enforce them. Anyway, David Fincher’s Fight Club is, as far as thriller movies go, a mind-bending masterpiece.
The movie tells the story of an unnamed narrator (Ed Norton) and his wild-eyed sidekick Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) as they start an underground fight club which quickly gets a bit out of hand, and Tyler tries to overthrow capitalism. Except, spoilers, Tyler’s not real he’s a figment of the Narrator’s imagination, and things only get more outrageous from there.
While the film’s big twist is a real rug pull moment, flipping the entire film on its head more observant, viewers probably spotted the clues building up to the reveal. What they may have missed, however, is that Fight Club is absolutely full of Starbucks cups, and these aren’t the leftovers of a less than diligent propmaster; they were placed there deliberately by Fincher as a joke.
“When I first moved to LA in 1984, you could not get a good cup of coffee in Los Angeles to save your life,” the director told Empire Magazine. “Then Starbucks came out, and it was such a great idea: good coffee. And when it became successful, there were like two or three on every block. It’s too much of a good thing.”
Starbucks didn’t mind being the butt of Fincher’s joke, though, and the director even let them read the script. “[Starbucks] read the script, they knew what we were doing, and they were kind of ready to poke a little fun at themselves,” he continued. “I mean, they wouldn’t let us use their name on the coffee shop that gets destroyed by the piece of tragic corporate art, but they were willing to give us the rest of their stuff.”
“We had a lot of fun using that — there are Starbucks cups everywhere, in every shot,” Fincher said. “I don’t have anything personal against Starbucks. I think they’re trying to do a good thing. They’re just too successful.”