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Batman Spends What? The Price of Being a Superhero

May 01, 2012 | 1:22am EDT

ALTThere's no question that superheros 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? 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 dig through Bruce Wayne's deep and dark pockets in 2005's Batman Begins to determine whether he'd be able to afford fictional technology that's impossible to price. Let's get creative!

Name: Bruce Wayne

Superhero Alias: Batman

Occupation: Professional Billionaire

Income: Approximately $6.9 billion, according to Forbes. Translation: Enough to make Donald Trump weep.

Rent: Rent? What’s that? Bruce Wayne, who continues to live in his massive childhood mansion, does not understand the meaning of such a word. Peons. We can, however, count that he likely spent a cool million or two on materials to build his first Batwing, which includes a bookshelf/secret door that we’ll price at $2,995, and an armoire for his Batsuit, which we’ll assume costs $200, since he required fast assembly only IKEA could provide. Total: $1,003,195.

Costume: Forget Mood. Bruce Wayne is lucky enough to have technology from Wayne Enterprises at his fingertips. So while he steals his $300,000 suit from the company, we’ll still count it as a cost, since he’s exacting it from his own fortune. Add to that a Bat mask from China (which we will price at $2 million, when you count raw materials, assembly, and shipping for approximately 10,000 parts), a cape made of fictional “memory cloth” (which we’ll arbitrarily price at 100,000 times a $59.99 memory foam pillow to total $5.9 million, because why not?), and a fashionable pair of John Varvatos boots at $600, and you’ve got a costume you should never risk brining to the dry cleaners. Oh, and since Amazon Prime was not available in 2005, we have to add Bruce’s interim ski mask, priced at a very reasonable $3, plus black eye paint ($7) and a paint sprayer ($68) to spruce up the suit. In total, Batman spent approximately $8,200,678.

Weapons: Sure, Spider-Man has his webs and Superman has his super-strength, but Batman has his own superpower: a super inheritance. At least, that’s how he affords non-existent weaponry like a grappling gun, which we’ll price by taking the cost of a harpoon ($150) and adding a wire extension ($100). Plus, since Bruce’s gun was plated in chrome, we’ll tack on a limited edition fee, bringing the total for the grappling gun to $400. But let’s not forget his Batarangs ($5, the price of a 12x18 piece of sheet metal), ball grenades (a completely made-up $100, since I would prefer the government not become suspicious of my Internet search history), a steel chain to tie up Carmine Falcone ($65), and his utility belt, which we calculate at approximately $1,100, if you size a 7-inch stainless steel Swatch band for a 35-inch waist. All in all, $1,670.

Gadgets: Since Batman circa 2005 didn’t want to worry about Gotham’s unreliable cell phone service, we’ll assume he used a Satellite phone. (Of course, it would have to be waterproof, since he called Alfred for help in the pouring rain.) No word on whether he has unlimited data, but let’s price this at $1,549.99. Then there’s his remote listening device — a very frugal $32 — and his $800 night vision binoculars . (Pervert.) And because Batman is a masochist who is willing to attract his greatest fear to him en masse (thank god he’s not afraid of clowns), we have to include his bat sonar device, which uses a high-frequency pitch to attract bats to his location. Bantix’s Mosquito Slayer does the same for the blood-sucking pests and runs at approximately $1,000, but, since Batman would need his device to be small enough to fit on his boot, we’ll double the price to $2,000. All in the name of fashion. Total: $4,381.99.

Damages: After a subway collapse and plenty of infrastructure damage, the taxpayers of Gotham City are in for a rude awakening. But, on Batman’s own turf, he’s forced to rebuild his mansion after Ra’s Al Ghul’s goons torched the entire home. It could cost approximately $46 million to rebuild Bat Manor, plus an additional $10 million to refurbish the Batwing, but the cost of losing family mementos is, tragically, priceless. As is the price of losing his reputation — Gotham City believes he drunkenly lit his own mansion on fire. Sad trombone. Grand total: $56 million.

Transportation: For Batman’s famous Batmobile, we’ll take the price of a U.S. Military Tank ($6 million) and triple it to $18 million to include GPS, missiles, a jet engine, stealth mode, flying capabilities, and an overall appearance that is the s**t. Plus, for his day job as a playboy billionaire, Bruce Wayne drives a far subtler automobile, a $380,000 Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, bringing his transportation total to $18,380,000. Hey, at least the subway only costs $2.50.

Risks: It’s hard out there for a vigilante billionaire. Throughout the film, Bruce Wayne had to cope with jet lag, late night brawling, first- to second-degree burns from being lit on fire, extreme bruising from falling down a multi-story building, and night terrors, all while building his own underground lair sans construction crew. Also, all that low-talking is sure to lead to plenty of sore throats, pulling $2 out of his pocket for lozenges.

Perks: Bruce Wayne can be on the cover of Forbes magazine, smiling next to Oprah and the Queen. Plus: A personal butler that provides more companionship than a Roomba!

Entertainment: For his 30th birthday, we’ll assume Bruce Wayne purchased a new Armani tuxedo for $2,000, and paid for $50,000 worth of catering. A pricy night, indeed, but at least it’s cheaper to stay at home: To look good going out on the town with two lovely ladies — in order to maintain his playboy cover — Bruce Wayne needed a designer suit fitting of his empire. Let’s give him a new Canali suit for $1,595, plus a new Zegna tie for $195. And to cavort with playgirls to maintain his cover, Wayne needed two high-priced callgirls. Based on the Eliot Spitzer price model, this would have cost him $8,600. Finally, to cover for his covers — his two female friends decided to romp in the hotel restaurant’s pool — Bruce Wayne purchased the high-end hotel he was dining in. Since Wayne’s hotel wasn’t quite the destination of New York City’s The Plaza — purchased for $400 million by Donald Trump in the 1980s — let’s price this at $300 million. And let’s not forget the additional $200 Wayne spent to tip the rule-abiding waiter. Grand total: $300,062,590. You're starting to appreciate your Friday night home with a six-pack, aren't you?

Miscellaneous: Handsome, rich, and able to do the CDC's job for them! In order to cure Gotham City of The Scarecrow’s terror-infused toxin, Batman needed to mass-produce an antidote. If the smallpox vaccine were estimated to cost $30 per dose, this would mean Batman would have to spend $300 million to cure 10 million inhabitants. Plus, to keep those pesky bats out of the Wayne manor, we’ll assume Batman had to hire an exterminator at approximately $1,000. Total Miscellaneous costs: $300,001,000.

Sustainability: Difficult. Especially when you’re forced to fight a climactic brawl after suffering at least a bruised rib from a fallen flaming log. But while Bruce Wayne’s money never sleeps, the jobless billionaire certainly can.

Final Calculation: Bruce Wayne/Batman spent (from our calculations) approximately $683,653,517 of his $6.9 billion fortune. Not a bad deal. But, kids, don't try to be a vigilante crime-fighter at home.

[Image Credit: Warner Bros.]
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