There's no question that superheroes are a lucrative bunch. From Spider-Man to The Dark Knight, crime-fighters on the big screen often translate to big bucks at the box office. But how much does it actually cost to be a superhero? To celebrate Superhero Week — and May 4's all-star blockbuster The Avengers — Hollywood.com delves into the sustainability of our favorite heroes' super extracurricular activities. Would they have the funds — and good health — to keep up with their secret lifestyles? We’ve brought you Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man, and the Hulk, and now, it’s time for the Man who’s faster (and thriftier) than a speeding bullet: Superman. We break down Bryan Singer’s 2006 film, Superman Returns , and discover that being Superman’s life is pretty much the best. In fact, with this post comes my resignation and an application to take over his duties and general lifestyle.
Name: Clark Kent
Occupation: He’s a pavement-pounding reporter for Metropolis’ Daily Planet, though he’s lucky to have the job after his unannounced five-year “vacation” — the one no one seems to notice matches up perfectly to Superman’s five-year hiatus.
Income: Well, it’s not much. The man’s an average reporter at the Daily News of Metropolis. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the average reporter makes approximately $35,000 a year, but that includes television reporters and those fancy folks at the New York Times. Considering that Kent is replacing an old reporter and he’s been missing for an exorbitant amount of time, we’re going to place him on the lower end of the scale, above the kids fresh out of college and below the solid $35k-ers. Salary: $30,000 a year.
Housing: Get ready to start tearing your hair out and screaming at that bird, or plane, or flying man in sky because Superman is about to blow your mind with the hidden superpower you can’t even try to possess (no matter how many times your dad sends you Yahoo! Articles about how to save money on everyday necessities): penny pinching. When he first crash lands back on Earth, he says rent free with his mama and when he returns to the big city, he’s ambiguously “still looking” for an apartment. He does take a little nap in Earth’s mesosphere, where he closes his eyes and hangs out like a confused, right-side-up bat just waiting to hear a crime to disturb his slumber so he can swoop down and save the day. He also throws some crystals into the water in Antarctica, which yields a giant crystal mansion which you might call the Fortress of Solitude. This magnificent palace costs him approximately nothing. Rent: $0 (The bastard.)
Costume: Keep up the fist-shaking and the screaming, because Superman doesn’t even need to buy his super suit. Why? It comes from space. Yes, as in that big mystery in the sky. The invulnerable material comes from Krypton, and unfortunately, no foreign currency exchange was willing to crunch the numbers to determine how many American dollars fit into one Kryptonian Ruble or Peso or Rupee or whatever Kryptonians use for currency. Superman does, however, (spoiler!) sustain a sizable rip in his suit when Lex Luthor stabs him with a Kryptonite crystal, and considering a sewing needle would be no match for the space-age fabric, he’d probably have to run home to Krypton to get it repaired. Then again, he does manage to shape his coif into that shiny do with the signature flirtatious curl at his temple, so he’s probably got an emergency tube of Dep on hand at all times. Cost: Year’s supply of Dep at $39.69, plus One Vacation Day for travel to Krypton.
Weapons: Did you not catch the part where he’s Superman? He doesn’t need weapons because he was born with invulnerability to everything but Kryptonite, the ability to fly, x-ray vision, heat vision, ice breath, super strength, ridiculously sensitive hearing, and the ability to disguise himself with only a terrible hairdo and some hipster glasses. Cost: $0
Disguise: This is likely where all of Clark Kent’s discretionary spending goes. In the comics, Superman had a pouch under his cape in which to hide his regular clothes, but Singer’s version doesn’t exactly explain that. Besides, ripping one’s clothes off while running has to have some sort of incidental loss. With that margin of error in mind, let’s assume he loses his outfit once every three or four quick changes. And Clark’s not fancy, so that’s $99 dollars for a London Fog Big and Tall overcoat, $240 for his Sears brown suit and shirt, $40 dollars for his leather loafers, and $14 for Urban Outfitters prescription-less “readers” black frame glasses. Cost: $353 (Chump change, considering he doesn’t pay for anything else.)
Damages: In most cases, Superman diminishes the damage from some near catastrophe by being, well, super. But on a few occasions, he makes a mess all on his own. His fiery return to earth destroys what I’ll estimate at about two acres of perfectly good corn-growing farmland. According to Bloomberg news, farmland is averaging at about $2,350 an acre, so if he’s the nice guy he swears he is, he’ll buy the damaged land off the owner’s hands — even if the owner is his mama. Then there’s the cost of at least a year of corn. According to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, an acre of land yields about 183 bushels of corn per harvest and the University of Illinois places each bushel at approximately $7 a bushel. Cost of making it right: $5,981
Transportation: He. can. fly. He doesn’t do the subway and taxis are for suckers. (Sorry, Lois Lane. He’ll still help you hail one if you want.) Cost: $0
Risks: He’s pretty damn invulnerable. Of course, that pesky Kryptonite causes problems from time to time, and when Lex stabs him, Superman winds up in critical care at the hospital. A visit like this could run him up to $20,000, especially since he is most definitely without health insurance, considering modern medicine can’t do much for death by Kryptonite. Superman, however, escapes in the middle of the night, good as new, without the proper discharge papers. And when all is said and done, even if the hospital wanted to charge him for medical services after he just saved the whole city, where would they send the bill? And who’d be audacious enough to hand the Man of Steel a whopping hospital bill? That’s what I thought. Cost: $0 (I repeat, the bastard.)
Perks: Is the fact that he’s netting $23k and change not enough of a perk? He’s got it made.
Entertainment: He doesn’t really have much fun because he spends so much time staring starry-eyed at Lois and fighting crime around the world, but he does make time for a few beers with Jimmy Olsen when he finds out Lois is seriously dating James Marsden. And he even gets a little tipsy, and since he’s so strapping, I’d say he’d need at least six beers to get saucy (that’s about $5 dollars a beer, plus a $2 tip per drink because he’s so super). He also steals a little date with Lois Lane, but he’s such a baller that all he has to do is fly her around through the dark (romantic) night, which costs him — you guessed it — absolutely nothing. Total: $42
Miscellaneous: In case you missed the last hour of the movie, Lois Lane’s little boy is actually Superman’s son. So for good measure, let’s say good ol’ Superman pays Lois Lane secret child support. Based on his $30k salary in the state of Kansas, he’d owe Miss Lane about $318 a month. Cost for a year: $3816
Sustainability: Clark Kent could sustain this until the end of time. His life is a charmed one — minus that part where he’s got a handful of vengeful enemies and (sigh) deadlines. But I’d fight 10-foot-tall fire-breathing tree people all day everyday if it meant I could stop paying $1,000 dollars a month in rent, okay? (Just don’t quote me on that when the Tree People Apocalypse comes.)
Final Calculation: He’s up $19,771.31 at the end of the year. Maybe next time he takes Lois out, he could finally spring for a steak dinner and some champagne. Verdict: Can I be Superman?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
[Image: Warner Bros.]
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S2E6: The battle rounds picked right up where they had left off on The Voice; we find fierce competition and tough calls for coaches Adam, Christina, Cee Lo and Blake. It was a night of conflicting personalities and styles as a shy siren competed against a wild Jersey girl, and a gritty rocker went head to head with a folky, mellow performer. We also saw the two 50 year-olds get their first taste of single elimination. It was a solid show from start to finish, one that closed with some tears of joy for Jamar, an HIV positive contestant on a road to redemption. The teams for the live rounds are starting to fill up rapidly, so let’s get it on!
Emotion Vs. Power
“I tell you how I’m gonna choose it, whichever one of these two singers turns me on the most.” – Blake
Hold your horses, Blake; this was Christina’s choice for her team when Sera Hill faced off against 51-year-old Geoff McBride. Sera brought her flare for the dramatic and Geoff brought his strong vocal prowess. Lionel Richie had almost no critiques and literally had to jump up from his seat after hearing Geoff, while Jewel predicted that volume only goes so far. She told Sera to feel it. Even with the better voice, Geoff was out of his element with Aretha’s “Chain of Fools” and Christina took notice. Sera may have won the battle but rest assured the world will hear Geoff again.
Sera Wins! Meek Vs. Mouthy “I want to beat Lex so badly, I want to destroy her.” – Charlotte Tell us how you really feel. Up next, Charlotte Sometimes, the always outspoken Jersey girl, took on Lex Land, the shy introvert with a sultry, smoky sound. The two handled a new song, “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People. Who knew Blake - of all people - loved this song? While Lex was blushing, Charlotte was commenting on her boobs. Talk about opposite personalities. Kelly Clarkson saw Charlotte’s blind audition and said she is a fan of her fluttery tones, while Blake was concerned the young girl who battled a disintegrating jaw disease would try and entertain too much. In the end, we saw the first real “battle” as the two girls had aggression written all over their faces toward the end of the song, and Carson had to jump in to break up the melodic malay. Blake chose the gregarious Charlotte to move on. Charlotte Wins! Yodel Vs. Gravel “Sarah, you’re great but I’m not sure whether this song did your voice justice.” – Christina Yin and Yang was epitomized in our next battle. Folkie Sarah Golden couldn’t have been matched up against a more different opponent in raspy rocker Juliet Simms. It might have been a bit unfair that Cee Lo chose Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me” as their battle song, a tune tailor-made for Simms. Ne-Yo had some choice words for Juliet, telling her to save her raspy scream for later in the song to keep it special. Sarah on the other hand, was overshadowed from the start of the song and Cee Lo kept the rocker Juliet, who rinses her mouth out with Listerine and gravel. Juliet Wins! Youth Vs. Experience “Kim and I, we’re both quote on quote powerhouse singers although she definitely her house is bigger than my house” – Whitney “Whitney, you’re like my little sis, but it’s on and crackin’.” – Kim Earlier in the night, we saw one 50-year-old sent home, could all the elderly be gone from The Voice? Not so fast, as Kim Yarbrough was tasked with singing “No More Drama” against Whitney Myer. Alanis Morissette, a legendary powerhouse in her own right, warned Whitney against trying to overpower Kim but just hold her words longer. Robin Thicke wanted Kim to relate to and feel the pain in Mary J. Blige’s words. This was a great battle from the start, and went back and forth the entire time. It left Blake flabbergasted, all he could say was “that was awesome!” Blake picked Carson, but the vote that counted, Adam’s, went to Kim, who is not letting age stand n the way of her dreams. Kim Wins! Bizarre Vs. The Baker “I’m not quite ready to go back to the bakery.” – Lee It was an alternative battle that would have Kurt Cobain smiling as Lindsey Pavao faced Lee Koch by singing “Heart Shaped Box.” Lee was immediately at a disadvantage not knowing the words while Lindsey relished in the Nirvana song, one of her favorites. Even so, Lee actually came out smooth and this creepy, eerie battle was one for the books as it almost felt like a Cobain tribute with soft, saturnine sounds. It was over though when Christina gave Adam a knowing look during Lindsey’s verse that almost evinced a “She’s going all the way” feeling from Aguilera. Cee Lo compared Lee to Jesus but the big shock was Blake had never heard this song! Come on man! Christina was pleasantly surprised by Lee but still went with Lindsey. No fret, Lee said he is taking the family on tour and not going back to baking.
Lindsey Wins! Friend Vs. Frenemy “You Jamar, you owned it, you owned that whole stage.” – Adam The best story of the show Jamar Rogers, the former drug addict living with HIV, came next against his close friend Jamie Lono and this was probably the most lopsided battle of the night. Jamar had it from the start. The two sang “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner and Jamie almost lost it during rehearsal, his voice cracking twice. The song was all about emotion and Ne-Yo told Jamar to simply harness that raw energy and use it in a constructive way on battle night. It was tough for both competitors, good friends, who both sang their hearts out and bear hugged at the song’s conclusion. Cee picked Jamar but the emotion after could be felt for miles. Jamie, a true friend, said maybe his purpose on the show was to propel Jamar forward. Maybe indeed!
Jamar Wins! Yet another classic show from The Voice, the show quickly shaping up to be the best and take over for all other singing competitions. American Idol really has a formidable opponent in this show and better look because The Voice is nipping, if not gnawing, on its heels. Next week, we move one step closer to the live rounds and unfortunately will have to say goodbye to a few more contestants. Is it Monday yet? Who would have ever expected that question of excitement? Let us know what you thought. Did you think the right people won? Did you tear up after the last performance? Who do you think will win it all? Hit us up in the comments section below, or on Twitter @TheRealRothman.
S2E5: The teams are set and the competition is on! Last night was the final round of the blind auditions on The Voice and we saw all four coaches add some key talent to their diverse squads. Two singers also made noise going home, one was a Memphis blues legend (Preston Shannon) and the other was just a legendary tool bag. What’s up next? The battle rounds, where the coaches slim down the teams to six each before the live contest, when the world will vote to decide the next winner of The Voice. Let the BATTLE (rounds) begin!
“The thing that I really, really loved is the fact that you made me forget that it even was an Alicia Keys song.” – Christina
It was a family affair with our first singer of the night, Whitney Myer, who started playing music with her father and uncle from the ripe age of 14. Myer just wants to make music a real career and after her rendition of “No One,” she has a real shot to do just that by getting all four coaches to take notice. It was a civil battle among the fantastic four with no low blows. In the end, Adam telling her she could win the whole damn contest sealed the deal as she went with the Maroon 5 frontman.
“You need to be with Cee Lo.” – Blake The Shield Brothers looked like they should be in a Jack Black movie but these two farms boys who resemble a bulky Napoleon Dynamite brought their A game with “Dancing With Myself” and Cee Lo was thoroughly impressed. I might have been nodding my head a little too. What? They are catchy and I didn’t want to get punched in the face by Rock N’ Roll like they had threatened to do earlier. Adam showed some interest but it was too late and Cee Lo has a duo on his team. It will be interesting to see what Cee with do with these crazy brothers, who accomplished their mission and smacked us all in the face with some good old Rock N’ Roll!
The stories on The Voice never seem to amaze and impress me. Chessa, a native of Hawaii, came next and told the world of moving to Los Angeles with her family as a little girl, then giving up her room to help pay the mortgage after her mother literally started an elderly care facility from their home. She came in wanting Cee Lo, no shocker there, and got him after belted out a worthy version of “If I Were a Boy.” She started off really, really deep then suddenly was possessed by the spirit of Beyonce, hitting all the high notes. Where did that come from? Cee Lo started cursing when he thought the song was over and he had missed out. But, to his surprise there was a little left and he got his girl.
“I’m just going to not waste time arguing with them and just start coaching you” – Adam Lex Land, a volunteer music teacher and jazz singer, came next with “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and brought soft, sultry tones that were comforting to the ear. Carson said backstage she sounded nervous but we couldn’t tell as she killed it and had everyone but Christina picking the 24-year-old Texan. She was smoky like Adele at times, something Adam said he wanted her to get away from. But Blake used his sensual breathing to get her to commit to his team. Miranda Lambert (Blake’s wife) is one lucky lady!
“Gosh dang man, Adam ... before you sang, he (Adam) could tell you were good” – Blake Blake was right as Adam buzzed in before Orlando Napier could even get going. (He’s not complaining) Orlando, an LA guy whose mother left when he was just 13, started partying as a young teen and eventually landed in jail after a serious bar fight. His dad now plays sax in his band and Napier said his goal is to get pops on stage if he makes it far enough. Napier’s take on “Waiting on the World to Change” was really special and fresh, as he added a Southern feel and draw to the song. With that selection, Adam was the first to call it a day.
Team Adam is complete! “How are you not a woman?” – Adam
With the best quote of the entire season, we introduce the aforementioned tool bag who came and went next. Cameron Novack who was so high up on himself because of his hip-hop and opera skills, looked like an anorexic Vanilla Ice but surprisingly decided to sing the “You Oughta Know” -- the ultimate chick song by Alanis Morissette. The guy called himself a “triple threat” and even started beat boxing midway through his song. I have never been happier to see a guy go home. He even started to rap to the crowd when he wasn’t picked. I started to cringe when Cee began apologizing and saying he made a mistake. Adam then tried to get the panel to change the rules and let Novack on Cee’s team. No! Thank the Lord this didn’t happen. Cee Lo, no mistake here, this was the best non move of your career. “Your voice, it spoke to me.” – Christina After Mr. Novack, I needed a feel-good story and I got on in Lee Koch, a singer who recently turned to baking to pay the bills. He was ready to give up his dreams until The Voice, and after singing Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” maybe he won’t have to. It took until he busted out his harmonica for Christina to select him but I smiled a bit at that moment. I also second her sentiments about being excited for the battle rounds.
We had a youngster up next in Wade, 19, who brought us an R&B infused version of “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse. The young man had so much range that Adam thought it was a duet. Cee Lo buzzed in late but was still able to snag Wade for his eclectic team. It seemed as Cee Lo was touched by Wade’s song selection, adding that he was about to work with Winehouse right before she died. Team Cee Lo is complete! “You have chops.” – Christina “What does chops mean?” – Blake “See, you don’t know because you’re not a real vocalist.” – Christina We saw low blows from Christina trying to secure Adley Stump, a sorority girl who just started singing 10 months ago. Blake and Christina almost dared each other to hit their buttons towards the end of her song and then the two fought over where to take Stump’s music. Blake wanted her to be a true country artist, while Christina wanted to bring out her strong voice. After Xtina’s harsh words, Adam had Blake’s back calling him a damn good vocalist. Then things got weird as the two exchanged proposes of love and sexual innuendoes. But Adley went with Blake.
Team Blake is complete! “I just wanted to grab a mic and get up there and sing it with you” – Christina After denying a few singers, Christina went with Sera Hill, who works at a hotel and sings to guests at check in, to complete her team. It must be so weird having just one coach to impress, but Hill did a fantastic job giving us her take on “I’m Going Down.” She did such a great job that Christina jumped on stage and sang the chorus with her. Team Christina is done! Well, all the teams are in and now after all that suspense and drama, we get to see half of those singers go home just as fast in the battle rounds. We saw a teaser of what’s to come and some of the guest coaches coming on like Ne-Yo, Kelly Clarkson, Lionel Richie and of course Miranda Lambert. It will be really interesting to see who stays and who goes because all the singers are so unique. I’m still sticking with my selection from the very first show of the season Mr. Tony Lucca, who is still the man to beat with his intimidating voice and experience. I’ve probably just jinxed and ended this man’s career, but we will just have to see next week. What do you think of the teams? Who do you want going home next time? Let us know with some comments below and find me on Twitter @TheRealRothman.