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? Today, we take a look at that unfortunate figure the Hulk from the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk, whose crippling rage might be second only to his crippling debt. You wouldn’t like him when he’s couponing.
Name: Dr. Bruce Banner
Superhero Alias: The Hulk
Occupation: Banner started out his professional career as a scientist, followed by a few months of day laboring in a Brazilian factory. By the second act of the movie, he’s what the politically correct refer to as a philosophical freelancer… otherwise known as a bum.
Income: For the most part, none. All funds from his pre-lam days are untouchable, so all he really has is (at most) five months’ worth of whatever a Brazilian day laborer would earn at a bottling factory. That, and some spare change garnered via your honest day’s work of begging, and the cash he guilts Betty Ross into lending him.
Rent: What did a rundown Brazilian studio go for in 2008? Banner spent about five months shacked up in a Rio de Janeiro shantytown, which should have run him no more than $2500. How about a hut in the outskirts of British Columbia? By the end of the film, the professor has taken up in a remote area of Bella Coola, where his amenities are even slimmer. Assuming he’s renting, this might amount to $1000 a month.
Costume: Just your average, often painfully bland digs. Throughout The Incredible Hulk, Banner rips through four outfits, resupplying via beggar change and loaners from Betty Ross… presumably, clothes that belong to her boyfriend, Dr. Phil Dunphy. Kind of crossing a line there, Bruce.
Weapons: Bare hands. Genetically mutated, rage-induced bare hands.
Gadgets: Banner has an outdated off-brand laptop (complete with your standard “Hello Neo”-esque instant messaging program), and some kind of portable satellite dish, presumably for picking up Internet signal. Otherwise, he pretty much lives off the land. While a laptop of the sort would generally run somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 to $1000 dollars, portable satellite dishes are surprisingly cheap: only $100 or so. Good to know, if you’re ever planning on running away from the government, but still want the occasional opportunity to check Buzzfeed’s latest list of dogs stuck in things.
Damages: Here’s where things pick up speed a bit. Throughout The Incredible Hulk, Banner destroys a hefty sum of other people’s property. He tears up his bottling plant, wreaks havoc on the campus of Culver University, and doesn’t exactly do any favors to New York City. But here’s the catch… all of these fights are provoked, or at least abetted, by the United States Military. Now, you have got to assume that the government is quickly and quietly cleaning up these messes to keep the residents and property owners quiet about the onslaught of criminal activity and obvious examples of inhumane genetic testing. Sure, Hulk might be responsible for a handful of broken fire escapes, but Big Brother isn’t going to let this case stay on the media’s radar for long.
Transportation: In the spirit of his Bill Bixbian predecessor, Edward Norton’s Hulk gets around primarily by hitchhiking — presumably, contributing nothing for gas. When he does actually opt for a bus, or an especially frenetic New York City cab, Banner channels his inner sleazebag and has his ex-girlfriend, Betty Ross, pay for everything. Seriously, why are we even rooting for this guy?
Risks: Insurance would be through the roof. Aside from the whole, “Hulk Smash!” thing, anger is the chief cause of a lot of health problems.
Perks: Banner left his old life behind to become a proverbial hermit; you can’t really go out drinking when the slightest insult from a mouthy bar patron might result in dozens of casualties. That saves a pretty penny.
Entertainment: Banner spends most of his free-time watching Portuguese Sesame Street and going for jogs. A modest TV set would run you only a couple hundred dollars.
Miscellaneous: At the beginning of the film, Banner has a dog. Any dog owner knows that canine companions cost a pretty penny. But it doesn’t exactly look like Banner is abiding by the ethical code of pet ownership… especially since he leaves the poor pup as a decoy for the approaching feds. Additionally, during his time in Brazil, Banner seems to be a frequent patron of a local meditation expert. It’s hard to say exactly what kind of payment he is doling out for these tips, but yoga classes generally run around $15 per lesson.
Sustainability: Although the Hulk doesn’t spend much, he doesn’t earn much either. Day laboring won’t really cut it if he’s planning on keeping that fancy Canadian living space, and especially if he’s looking into another dog, or some more zen classes. Oh, and then there’s the little matter of food.
Final Calculation: The Hulk lucks out a lot. It’s none too easy to find a willing driver when you’re a shirtless hitchhiker without any cash. Thankfully, the superhero will be finding a new occupation in the very near future… but does Nick Fury offer dental?