For Batman fans, it's always been about the car.
The next film installment of the Dark Knight saga comes out in 2016. "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" is in the middle of filming, and director Zack Snyder has released some eye-popping stills of the new Batmobile. It's less car, more tank.
What could such a monster cost? What if it was a real military weapon? The M1 Abrams tanks favored by the U.S. Army cost more than $6 million apiece.
A fully armed Batmobile would cost more, a lot more, at least according to Ryan Friedlinghaus, host of "West Coast Customs" and "Pimp My Ride."
"It's kinda cool, because it looks like what we built," Friedlinghaus said of Synder's photos. West Coast Customs spent six months building another Batmobile for this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo to help promote next year's video game "Batman: Arkham Knight," from Warner Bros .Interactive Entertainment. Warner Bros. also produces the Batman movies and the new "Gotham" prequel which debuted this week on Fox.
Friedlinghaus' Batmobile didn't actually drive, but he says it still cost about $1 million to create. As for the Batmobile in the upcoming movie, he estimates a working model would cost $3 million. However, "If a defense company was to make a vehicle like that, you've got to make it bulletproof, there are so many other pieces to it, then to make it look pretty and move around and drive, I mean, this thing has to go into war, I would say triple that."
So $9 million ... and that doesn't include the cost of munitions.
The first Batmobile from the 1960s TV series reportedly cost George Barris around $15,000 to build, constructed around a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car.
The 1989 Batmobile used by Michael Keaton in "Batman" was based on an Impala with several added touches, including Rolls-Royce jet engine components.
Christian Bale's Batmobile in "Batman Begins" reportedly was created from the ground up, with 44-inch rear tires, at an estimated cost of nearly $1 million.
And now this. We sent defense contractors in the business of making military equipment Snyder's photos and how much they think a working model of the Batmobile would cost.
"The new Batmobile looks pretty cool," said John Daggett, spokesman for Oshkosh . "It is hard to determine the actual size based on the shots ... there would be too many unknowns in order for us to give you a decent quote."
Textron spokesman David Sylvestre agreed, "The real cost is in the capabilities such as all the tech and weapons that Batman may require, also speed and armor and maybe some limited flight."
Friedlinghaus said that in the old days, he would make multiple mock-ups of cars for a film shoot, but the cost and complexity of these vehicles has changed that. "Now you build one working vehicle," he said, adding that he can't wait to see how the new Batmobile looks on the big screen.
"These Batman movies, it's like the vehicles just progress with it," Friedlinghaus said. "There's so much robotics now and electronics ... they need to move, and the guns pop out and all that stuff."
The latest version reminds him more of a military aircraft than a car: "When you see that stealth bomber, you know that it's our secret plane that we send to go handle business, and that is what Batman handles business with."
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