How Much Does It Cost To Be Batman?
It’s a good thing that Bruce Wayne is so filthy rich because otherwise, his vigilante heroics would send him to the poor house. The Centives economics blog, run by econ students at Lehigh University, has been trying to figure out what it might cost for a real-life Wayne to run around in a giant bat costume every year, and has concluded that he probably pays $2.8 million annually, including $2 million for graphite helmets, $262,800 for Alfred’s salary and $74,880 a year for personal training, among other things.
After stealing and ending up in jail, Bruce Wayne is then solicited by the League of Shadows. They know that he’s a billionaire and so they probably charged Bruce Wayne to train him in the way of the ninja (after all, serving the cause of true justice by doing things like destroying Gotham City isn’t exactly something you make money from – you have to find sources of revenue somewhere.) An elite personal martial arts instructor costs $60 an hour. As Batman you’ll want to train for, say, four hours a day, six days a week. Assuming that it takes about a year of training the bill comes out to $74,880.
Bruce Wayne then returns to Gotham City – but he does so in a private jet. You’re also going to have to charter a plane since you can’t sneak back into the United States on a freight ship – border control would likely catch you. And you can’t just fly first class on a commercial jet since China’s immigration officials will want to know how you got into the country without a visa. Bluestar Jets promises to find you a private plane for as little as $1,550 an hour. A nonstop flight from Beijing to New York takes about 13 hours so you’re out another $20,150.
Now we come to the equipment stage. Lucius Fox outlines exactly what it takes:
- Kevlar Utility Harness ($337.39)
- Gas-powered magnetic grappling gun (you’ll have to do with a simple grappling hook $26.95 – although you could try launching it out of a gas-powered t-shirt cannon for $1,750.00)
- Nomex survival suit for advanced infantry. Kevlar bi-weave, reinforced joints, tear resistant and bullet proof. (Lucius Fox tells us that it costs $300,000)
- Memory cloth. (Look you won’t find some fabric that will allow you to fly. Your best bet is a hand glider and the cheapest is $3,390)
- The Tumbler. (The closest analogue we could find is a Humvee. You won’t be tearing around roof tops in this$140,000 vehicle, but slap a bat sticker on it, make sure you stay on dark roads, and nobody will know the difference. It comes in black for an additional $1,500.)
And for the rest Bruce Wayne has to improvise. He orders 10,000 graphite helmets. These go for $244 each, although we’re sure that for such a large order you could negotiate the price down to $200. Total comes out to $2 million. He stuffs a sound amplifier into the bat-ears, and these cost $29.95.
This is perhaps a good time to mention the cost of a Butler. We don’t know how much Bruce Wayne pays Alfred, but you can get an executive personal assistant to dress your wounds, cook you meals, clean the bat droppings, and engage in witty banter for $30 an hour. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and you’ll be paying them $262,800.
Finally you’ll needs some black spray paint to bring it all together. 20 cans should do it, and the total comes out to $121.60.
You’re still missing a transmitter that can attract hundreds of screeching bats to provide cover for your escape – but rather than splurge on something like that, just carry a set of civilian clothes with you, change out of your costume, and casually walk out, blending in with the locals.
The total bill? $2.8 million to show the criminal scum that the city doesn’t belong to them.
Since The Batman is helping the city, maybe he can apply for some subsidy.