This March, Batman and Superman finally appeared together in a live-action film for the first time in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Unfortunately, fans and critics have mostly walked away from the theater disappointed, and that’s being kind. In its opening weekend, the new Batman v Superman earned an impressive — if slightly disappointing — $166 million at the U.S. box office.
Before the big premiere, Time’s finance vertical Money explored just how much it would cost to fight crime as the caped crusader, a question comic book fans have been asking for decades. So how much would it cost to be the Batman?
According to Time’s Money experts, it would take at least $700 million to become a fully functional Batman, with the costume, gadgets, travel expenses, vehicles, mansions, weapons, and of course, a full-time live-in butler. Then there are all the expenses that come from maintaining your cover identity as a globetrotting billionaire playboy CEO.
Assuming that Wayne Manor is valued at a conservative $37 million, Batman would pay about $430,000 each year on property taxes alone.
Unfortunately, Time based its back-of-the-envelope math on estimates drawn from Christian Bale’s version of Batman, not the new Ben Affleck version, which some have dubbed the Batfleck. In order to fight Superman, we can assume the Batfleck had to spend millions more on new armor, weapons, surveillance equipment and tradecraft, upping the ante to at least $750 million.
Of course, the Batfleck can afford it, according to Forbes’ official ranking of the wealthiest fictional characters, the “Forbes Fictional 15“. Bruce Wayne’s $6.5 billion fortune earned him a number eight spot on the list, which leaves him with plenty of cash to spare. His primary source of income? A sizeable inheritance from his late parents, which leaves us with estate taxes to consider.
Today, the first $5.43 million of any estate is exempt from federal estate taxes, with a top tax rate of 40% beyond that point. But if Mr. and Mrs. Wayne died before 2001, then only $650,000 of the Wayne estate would have been exempt from taxes, with the remainder being taxed at 55%.
Anyone looking to pass on more than six figures usually creates a trust in addition to their will. It’s likely that the Waynes had a small army of lawyers and accountants to ensure their money could be passed onto young master Bruce in various trusts, and Bruce Wayne has since expanded the family business into profitable defense contracts.
While Batman might be extraordinarily wealthy in the new Expanded DC Universe, he’s nearly as profitable in the real world. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy set a number of box office records, earning billions for Warner Brothers, while the new film is on track for major box office grosses.