Friday, July 18, 2008

The Cost of Batman

When I through out a title like "The Cost of Batman" on opening day of the new Batman movie, you might think I'm referring to that's movie's cost (which the New York Times puts "north of $100 million"). But no, I'm actually speaking of how much it would cost in raw dollars to be Batman.

One of Batman's primary allures is that anyone can be him. With enough money, training, and psychological scarring from a traumatic childhood event, any person could potentially fight crime. And run around in tights and a cape. You don't have to be an alien from the planet Krypton or be struck by gamma radiation or be bitten by a radioactive/genetically altered spider. No, you can be a superhero through sheer tenacity.

Well, tenacity and a $6.3 billion fortune that puts you at #28 on Forbes's list.

I've been reading through some of the early Batman comics from the early 1940s and have been struck that, though wealthy, Bruce Wayne was not a millionaire at first. But as costs have gone up over the past sixty years, so has his fortune, first to millionaire, then to multi-millionaire, and now to billionaire. But does he need all that money to be Batman? Surely a millionaire could do it.

Fortunately Forbes not only figured out where Bruce Wayne would be on the scale of wealthiest people, but also how much it would cost to be Batman per year. Their estimated cost? $3,365,449. But their list cheats. Batman Begins tells us that the batsuit costs $300,000. Forbes wants you to be realistic and so recommends a lightweight ProMAX OTV bulletproof jacket for $1,085 and a Kevlar helmet for $500. What about the legs? Every bad guy would know that a penknife to the legs would incapacitate you so you'd get a rouges gallery including the Fearsome Letter Opener. Obviously not acceptable.

What is worse about the list is that it only calls for $24,000 for the Batcave, which it recommends you put in a warehouse as there are no naturally occurring caves large enough in New York. The Batwarehouse? Really? No, you need to do as they've done in Kansas City and find an abandoned mine to convert. Will that cost you $24,000? No indeed.

But all in all, it's nice to see that for the cost of making the movie, you could probably fund a Batman for a year. So it's possible for any respectable millionaire to be Batman.

As long as they have a pension to go with it.

No comments: