What’s great about Batman’s character is that he’s so relatable: He wasn’t born on another planet like Superman; he wasn’t bitten by some insect that endowed him with superpowers like Spiderman; and he’s not a god like Thor. He’s just some regular guy that likes to fight crime… and happens to have billions of dollars.
Okay, maybe he’s not so relatable. But if you’re a billionaire playboy yourself and are looking for a way to spend all that money, then you might want to look into the growing field of costumed vigilantism.
The economics blog Centives, run by students at Lehigh University, recently crunched the numbers and figured out exactly how much it would cost to become the Batman. Here’s the rundown. (Warning: Minor spoilers from the first two films in Nolan’s Dark Knight series ahead.):
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne is recruited and trained by a mysterious group of assassins known as the League of Shadows. Let’s assume that they charge for their Ninja training. An elite personal martial arts instructor costs about $60 per hour, or about $74,880 for the entire year. At the end of that year, Wayne then flies back from China in his private jet for $20,150.
Now for the equipment: Batman needs a utility harness, grappling gun, a bulletproof survival suit, helmet, explosives, and memory cloth that allows him to fly, among other things. That all adds up to about $2.3 million — $2 million on bat helmets alone. (Apparently it would have seemed suspicious if Alfred had just ordered a few, so he got 10,000 of them.)
Which reminds us: We can’t forget about Alfred! Centives estimated that a good butler earns about $30 an hour. But in this case that’s a steal, considering that Alfred not only has to carry out his normal buttling duties but also has to give Wayne first-aid when he’s hurt, come up with complex cover stories for his bat antics, save him from burning buildings and occasionally hit a bad guy over the head. Plus, there’s all those motivational speeches: “Endure, Master Wayne.” But fine — say Bruce Wayne’s cheap and only pays the guy $30 an hour to be his father figure. That’s another $262,800.
And then there’s the Batmobile. A Humvee runs for about $140,000, and Centrics figured with some black spray paint that would be a suitable replacement for the actual Batmobile considering that most of the aforementioned equipment is fictional anyway.
So we’re looking at a total bill of $2.8 million, a mere pittance to Bruce Wayne — who Centric calculates is worth $11.6 billion, making him the 73rd richest person in the real world and placing him firmly ahead of Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, on the richest fictional characters list. But $2 million of that went to all those darn bat helmets. If you really want to become the caped crusader yourself, take the risk and only order a couple. Then, you’re only spending $800,000 to become the Dark Knight.
Of course, we’re not counting the flying Batmobile that makes an appearance in The Dark Knight Rises. That thing has to cost a pretty penny.