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The Most Expensive Superhero Suits Ever Made

It has been said that the clothes make the man, and the same can be said for the average Superman. Can you imagine Batman without his trademark cape and cowl, or Iron Man without his signature gold and hot-rod-red armor? These outfits, while sometimes outlandishly impractical, have become inextricably linked with the heroes we love.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that if you want your comic book movie to succeed, you'd better give your hero a top-notch suit that doesn't stray too far from the source material. Even if the outfit seems too unrealistic for a modern take on the story, it's important to value the appearance of the character's origins and bring it to life. Aquaman Director James Wan, for example, knew it would be difficult to make the main character's corny green-and-gold tights look great on the big screen, but found a way to make it work because "at the end of the day... the suit itself is so inherently part of the story." Sometimes, achieving this ultimate level of badassery doesn't come easy... or cheap! With that in mind, here's a look at some of the most expensive superhero suits ever made.

Deadpool v Cancer: The Dawn of Pink

In 2018, Ryan Reynolds partnered up with the fine folks at Omaze to raffle off a custom-made pink Deadpool suit for breast cancer awareness. For a mere $10 donation, you could enter your name in the running. All proceeds went to Omaze's F*** Cancer drive.This is actually not the first time that Reynolds has used his Deadpool persona to raise breast cancer awareness — he also posted this video to his YouTube channel in 2016. 

According to Omaze, the pink Deadpool suit raised over $500,000, making it one of the most valuable super suits ever stitched together. If you had wanted to donate more to such a worthy cause, there were reward tiers in place as well, such as a chance at an autographed copy of Deadpool 2 and a "personalized outgoing voicemail message recorded by Deadpool." If you applied for a job and they called to hear Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool on your answering machine, you have to imagine you'd be guaranteed the gig, right?

Asgardian hair ain't cheap

When Tessa Thompson burst into the MCU as the alcohol-chugging, not-to-be-messed-with Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, she immediately became a fan favorite. It's not often that someone can outshine the charisma of Chris Hemsworth, but Thompson's performance certainly toed that line. Likewise, it's actually even rarer for someone to have hair requirements as needy as Thor's, but Thompson pulled that off too.

According to Allure, after principal production on Ragnarok wrapped, Thompson started shooting for Boots Riley's film Sorry to Bother You. In that movie, her character, Detroit, rocks dip-dyed "unicorn hair," and Thompson actually bleached her own hair for the unique look. Thus, when Ragnarok director Taika Waititi called for re-shoots, Thompson found herself in quite the pickle: In order match her appearance with her previous scenes, Disney had to purchase a $10,000 wig for Thompson to wear, replicating Valkyrie's long, dark hair. Although some celebrities shell out up to $6,000 for extra-long extensions, you have to assume that Disney execs wigged out when receiving a $10,000 bill for fake hair.

Too expensive for Ben

If you got to play Batman in a movie, wouldn't you want to keep the Batsuit? Understandably, Ben Affleck did, too — that is, until Warner Bros. executives told him how much it'd cost.

During a 2014 guest appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael, Bat-fleck admitted that he had asked if he could keep Batman's suit from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice after production wrapped, but was told that it would cost him $100,000. (With that kind of price tag, you have to wonder if it came with a grappling gun and a couple Batarangs for good measure.) Although Men's Health reports that Affleck has a net worth of $130 million, he didn't take Warners up on their offer. Perhaps he simply didn't want to take home a souvenir that sparked so many memories of bad reviews and humiliating YouTube videos

Did the suit smell like booze?

You could do a lot of great things with $200,000. You could travel and see the world, make a substantial donation to charity, set up an account for your children's college savings... the sensible options are endless. Or you could blow it all on an authentic leotard from one of the more disappointing Superman movies ever, Superman III.

Bleeding Cool reports that Christopher Reeve's "Evil Superman" suit sold for an astounding $200,000 at auction. Julien's Auctions, a California-based auction house, sold the outfit as part of its "Hollywood Legends" memorabilia. According to the original ad, the ensemble consisted of five components: "a custom blue knit leotard with the stylized Superman logo sewn into the front with attached maroon trunks, a pair of matching knit tights, a cape, a belt and a pair of boots." It was only expected to sell for $20,000-$40,000, so it's quite a shock that it went for six figures. The next time you see someone drinking alone in a bar draped in a full Superman getup, know that he paid good money to do so.

Receptors assemble

In the 2013 live-action adaptation of the anime Gatchaman, five unlikely heroes band together to defend the world against Galactor, an evil organization. In a nod to the source material, each character needed a convincingly cool G-suit for the movie, allowing them to showcase their powers. Kotaku put together a side-by-side comparison of the live action suits and their anime counterparts, proving that the film spared no expense in its wardrobe budget.

In fact, according to Kotaku, the G-suits took roughly a year to create and cost $40,000 each, totaling $200,000 (or 20 million yen) for the complete ensemble. The film received a less-than-ideal audience response, and it only grossed a measly $3,944,512 at the Japanese box office. When your characters' outfits account for 5 percent of your film's total earnings, maybe you should've budgeted a little less for wardrobe and a little more for everything else.

Isn't that technically government property?

Although Chris Evans has gone on the record to claim that his favorite Captain America outfit was the all-navy "stealth suit" from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it doesn't mean that his older threads aren't valuable. According to TheWrap, the super-soldier's OG suit from Captain America: The First Avenger was auctioned off for a whopping $228,000, which was roughly $30,000 more than it was expected to fetch.

The auction was held at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo in April of 2012. In addition to Cap's authentic costume, the event also sold off several other hot MCU props, including a stunt version of Thor's hammer and a screen-worn Red Skull prosthetic makeup appliance. Perhaps most interestingly, Cap's costume was sold for almost $100,000 more than the Mark II "Autopsy" armor used in Iron Man 2. Let's hope this doesn't start the second Civil War between the two ex-BFFs!

A Knight is nothing without his armor

Christian Bale famously turned down a mind-boggling $50 million to don the cape and cowl for a fourth Batman movie, but that doesn't mean Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy is any less valuable. Need more proof? In 2016, Bloomberg reported that Bale's official Batsuit from The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises was sold for $250,000 to a private collector. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bale's superhero costume was notably more valuable than Ben Affleck's for the same role (approximately $150,000 more).

In addition to Bale's costume, the Batpod from The Dark Knight was sold for $413,634, and the outfit that Tom Hardy wore as Bane went for just over $127,000. All items were sold by The Prop Store, an auction house in London, and it was reported that the auction brought in just shy of $2 million. That's a lot of dough to shell out to play pretend — Bruce Wayne would approve.

A suit fit for a king

Due to its plentiful deposits of vibranium, Wakanda is one of the richest nations in the world of Marvel Comics. Thus, it shouldn't be a shock to learn that Wakandan king T'Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, wears one of the most expensive super suits ever made. Likewise, Chadwick Boseman's signature black, bulletproof armor cost a pretty penny to make in real life.

In an interview with Coveteur, Black Panther's costume designer, Ruth Carter, opened up about just how pricey the title star's costume actually is: "The Black Panther should have had maybe 20 costumes... But they're very expensive — one costume might cost $300,000... I think we only had six or so." Six costumes at $300,000 a pop, for all you math majors, equates to $1,800,000. That's a helluva lot of coin to spend in the wardrobe department, but it's this kind of attention to detail that places Marvel films in a league of their own.

The strength of Hercules, and more expensive

Warner Bros. played it relatively safe with 2019's Shazam!, reportedly only approving $80-$90 million for the production budget, which would make it the cheapest film in the DCEU. However, that doesn't mean that all facets of Billy Batson's epic adventure were super affordable: Reports have surfaced that the cost of Zachary Levi's suit from the film is somewhere in the seven-figure range.

In an interview with Leah Butler, the costume designer on Shazam!, it was admitted that for the movie, ten suits were created, and that each one cost "upwards of a million." The film's director, David F. Sandberg, has since confirmed that although he doesn't know the exact price tag, Butler's comments weren't "out of the realm of possibility." It's a bold move to dedicate roughly 10% of your movie's budget on one character's costume, but DC has spent more money on dumber things — like shelling out $25 million to digitally remove a mustache.

Big cost for a small thing

For his role as Ray Palmer, a.k.a. the Atom, in DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Brandon Routh dons an exosuit that allows him to shrink. When speaking with IGN, Routh commented on how much he liked the costume: "This is different from the Arrow and Arsenal suits... it's badass!" Anything that looks "badass" usually carries a heavy price tag, and the A.T.O.M. suit is no exception.

In 2015, DCLegendsTV sat down with Phil Klemmer, the executive producer on Legends of Tomorrow, and got him to open up about just how much the show invested in Routh's getup. "His costume actually costs not just more than a car," Klemmer admitted. "More than, like, your average American home." This would almost certainly make this suit one of the most expensive superhero suits in a television series. To put that into perspective, Oliver Queen's outfit from Arrow only reportedly costs about $5,000 to make — quite a lot less than your average house or new car.

Stark, the big spender

It's only fitting that Tony Stark's Iron Man armor costs a pretty penny in real life, too. In May of 2018, CTV News reported that Robert Downey Jr.'s crimson-and-gold costume from the first Iron Man film was stolen from a Los Angeles movie prop storage facility. On the police report, the estimated value was listed as $325,000. 

While this is quite a lot less than the estimated $1.6 billion that it would cost to actually build a fully functional Iron Man suit, it's still an expensive outfit. Interestingly enough, this stolen suit is listed at a value that is more than double the cost of what the "Autopsy" armor from Iron Man 2 was auctioned off for. Fans are evidently more willing to pay more for the authentic paint job. The A.V. Club gives a humorous rundown of the theft's potential fictional suspects — including Obadiah Stane and Justin Hammer.

Quill's got the money-mask

Chris Pratt's Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star Lord, made a striking entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. He had everything you could want in a Marvel superhero: the charisma, the bod, the righteous heart... and don't forget the look: During the film's opening moments, Quill's full outfit is displayed, proudly showcasing his Ravager garb, full-length duster, and, perhaps most memorable, his trademark mask with the glowing red eyes. He looks like he literally stepped out of a Guardians of the Galaxy comic book.

Given how impressive the whole ensemble is, it should come as no surprise that a costume that loyal to the source material wasn't cheap. According to TMZ, Pratt's headgear from the movie sold for $160,000 at an auction in the United Kingdom. The auction, which was held by Prop Store, reportedly collected nearly $4,000,000 in total, also finding new owners for classic treasures such as Merlin's wardrobe from 1981's Excalibur and an authentic alien costume from 1979's Alien. Although those may sound quite desirable, Pratt's space mask was the highest-earning item sold. That just goes to show that an actor's face isn't always the "money maker" — sometimes it's the headgear.

Fat price for a tight suit

Although diehard Marvel fans probably knew that Scarlett Johansson's "Natalie Rushman" in Iron Man 2 was actually Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, the film waited until its third act for the full reveal, and boy was it worth the wait. Widow, sporting a S.H.I.E.L.D.-issued skintight black bodysuit, lights up the screen by making short work of a slew of Justin Hammer's henchmen, much to Happy Hogan's bewilderment. It was a top-notch entrance for a character who was destined to become a pillar in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Johansson's wardrobe was genuinely fantastic.

Widow's "S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform" reportedly sold for $8,000 at auction, which is a small price to pay if you feel like parading around the house in full-on Avenger get-up. Johansson admitted to MTV that it was bittersweet to take the suit off after shooting on Iron Man 2 wrapped: "I think when I was finished... it was kind of like, 'Goodbye, unitard. I will hopefully see you in 16 months'... It was actually much more comfortable than it looked, and it functioned very well, but who wants to wear the same thing every day?" You have to wonder whether whoever bought this expensive suit will be tempted to pull it out of storage and wear it for Halloween every year that the MCU is a trending topic — which might just mean forever.

This kitty's got coin (and claws)

1992's Batman Returns may have been a box office smash, but not everyone was a huge fan of this superhero sequel. Just ask Michelle Pfeiffer, whose unforgettable portrayal of Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, included one extremely scandalous costume. As it turns out, wearing what's essentially a gimp suit with stitches isn't exactly the most comfortable garb to lounge around in on set. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Catwoman suit was the most uncomfortable getup Pfeiffer ever had to wear. "They had to powder me down, help me inside and then vacuum-pack the suit," she told the trade. "They'd paint it with a silicon-based finish to give it its trademark shine. I had those claws, and I was always catching them in things. The face mask was smashing my face and choking me."

Despite all of the suit's defects, the costume still was worth one pretty kitty penny: MTV reports that Pfeiffer's screen-worn spandex outfit sold for $8,260 at a 2009 auction put on by Profiles in History. Let's just hope that whoever bought the suit is using it for good and not villainy.