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Spider-Man Spends What? The Price of Being a Superhero

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Apr 29, 2012 | 4:44pm EDT

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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? To kick off the week, we break down Sam Raimi's 2002 smash hit Spider-Man and discover that along with great responsibility, great power can also come with some great debt. 

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Name: Peter Parker

Superhero Alias: Spider-Man

Occupation: High school student/freelance photographer

Income: Fluctuates. While Peter (Tobey Maguire) presumably earned no allowance from Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) and Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) for household chores and earned a measly $100 for that amateur wrestling tournament (he lost $2900-slash-Uncle Ben's life in the process), his surprisingly lucrative freelancing gig at the Daily Bugle ($300 per photo or roughly $2100 per week) found him making around $5600 in total that month. Not bad for an 18-year-old.

Rent: Scott free! Lived modestly with Uncle Ben and Aunt May in Queens and then presumably lived rent-free thanks in a sweet SoHo loft with Harry Osborne (James Franco.) Rooming with the trust fund baby of an evil scientist has its perks!

Costume: His homemade wrestling outfit featured Spidey-inspired Nikes for $150, a red mask (around $15 on eBay), and your run of-the-mall Hanes male sweatpants and sweatshirt totaling $28.50, bringing his outfit to roughly $193. (A big hit, considering he only won $100 at that botched wrestling match.) As for his professional Spider-Man duds, a trip to Mood for 6 yards of red solid mesh would send him back $72. Tim Gunn would have been so proud. In total, Spidey spent about $265 on his costume/disguise.

Weapons: Again, totally free! This virtually ammo-free superhero is perhaps the most resourceful one, using only the weapons at his disposal, like his slinging spiderwebs. Take that, Batman.

Gadgets: To keep up that freelancing gig (which his editor J. Jonah Jameson wrongfully refers to as "the best thing in the world for a kid your age"), Spidey used a camera like this $429 Nikon.

Damages: While most of the damage caused to the city of New York was actually caused by the Green Goblin's destructive path, Peter broke a lamp at his Aunt and Uncle's house. That's coming out of your allowance, young man! Oh wait...

Transportation: Aside from the occasional subway ride when he's Peter Parker instead of Spider-Man, the hero gets around the city by climbing walls and jumping from building to building. Hey, those Metrocards are pricey.

Risks: Scads! Considering there's no health insurance in being a superhero (or a freelancer for that matter), Spider-Man was taking some big risks with his life considering what a physical and emotional toll the job takes. Peter/Spidey never went to the hospital, despite getting bit by a poisonous spider, jumping into a burning building, hitting the side of a building at full force after a failed swing, cutting his arm while trying to hide from Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe), and a variety of other ER-worthy incidents. Factor in a tragic backstory and an isolating future, and he should have definitely invested in some therapy.

Perks: Sure, there's no health insurance. But Spidey's heightened senses means no more glasses, saving him roughly $400 in glasses/contacts/eye exams, and an enviable physique, which means he can cancel his gym membership, around $800 a year in NYC.

Entertainment/Other: Offers to take his unrequited love Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) out for $7.84 cheeseburger. (She declines!)

Sustainability: Not great. Between constantly having to change your identity and location (rooming with a guy whose dad you killed will put you back on Craigslist in no time), butting heads with/running from the authority, denying yourself fulfilling personal relationships in the already isolating Manhattan, and living off a freelancers wage can only last so long.

Final calculation: Peter Parker/Spidey saved/earned roughly $6,113.84. Again, not terrible for a youngster with incredible power at his disposal, but none of that money got his Uncle Ben back or Mary Jane in his arms.

[Photo credit: Columbia Pictures]

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