We all know that movies bend the truth and stretch reality, but how much would the abodes we seen in multi-million dollar films cost in real life? How much would it really take to live like Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, or Jay Gatsby? The answers to those questions are startling, with figures so high that only the ultra-wealthy could ever afford to live like movie characters.
The Great Gatsby
The mansion that Leonardo DiCaprio called home in The Great Gatsby wasn’t actually a mansion at all. The house scenes in the movie were shot at Australia’s International College of Management in Sydney. The building that served as Gatsby’s home was built in 1885 to serve as a seminary and is made entirely of stone. Most of the stone for the 5,600 square-metre building (complete with six-level central bell tower) was transported from North Head quarries or from Pyrmont by boat. Replicating Gatsby’s lifestyle would cost a whopping £22.4 million (that includes not just the cost of the house, but of Gatby’s personal shopper and parties as well).
If you want to live the bachelor lifestyle of Tony Stark, you’ll need more than £65 million … and that’s just for the house. Gizmodo estimates the total cost of living like Tony Stark, complete with suits, cars, and J.A.R.V.I.S. to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1.6 billion (of course Gizmodo only values the house at $10 million rather than $100 million, so its estimate may be off).
The house seen in Iron Man was put up for sale in 2014. According to the listing, it is 11,000 square feet, has four bedrooms, a private access beach, and breath-taking views. It’s called The Razor Residence and is located just outside of San Diego, CA.
The good news is that living like a superhero’s alter ego doesn’t have to be super expensive. If you want to live like Bruce Wayne in the Batman movies featuring Christian Bale, the mansion will cost a measly £20.8 million. If you want to actually be Batman, however, the cost skyrockets £445 million. That’s still a bargain compared to Iron Man, but nothing to sneeze at. According to Mashable, the highest cost comes from vehicle expenses ($80 million), but adding a Bat Cave to historic Mentmore Towers wouldn’t be cheap either.
Mentmore is located in Buckinghamshire England and was built in the 19 th century for a Rothschild. The house comes with 81 acres and cost £12,400 to build when it was commissioned. Today, the house would cost closer to £20 million. It has served as the setting for movies like Eyes Wide Shut, Johnny English, and Quills. If you are interested in buying properties like Mentmore and living like Batman, you can read more at Heatheringtons.
The classic film about Charles Foster Kane was based on the real life of media magnate William Randolph Hearst. It seems only fitting that the inspiration for Xanadu was based heavily on Hearst’s San Simeon estate in California. The house, which is valued at somewhere between $100 and $200 million, is currently a museum. It sits at an altitude of 490 metres in the Santa Lucia Range that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, roughly in the centre of a 1,012 square-kilometre ranch. Built in 1919, the house is 8,400 square metres in size, has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and is home to the world’s largest private zoo.
If you really want to go over the top, then you can’t get any bigger than Richie Rich. Though the movie takes place in Chicago, the house that Richie lived in is actually located in North Carolina. The famous Biltmore Estate, which is still owned by a descendant of the Vanderbilts, is now a hotel. At a whopping 16,622 square metres, Biltmore was once the largest private residence in the United States. If it were put up for sale, the house could be yours for just £2.6 billion. For that price you get four floors, a bachelor’s wing, 8,000 acres of land, and a piece of American history that includes three presidents and a load of celebrity guests.
Biltmore was eventually turned into a hotel and massive chunks of the property were sold off because the upkeep was simply too expensive. It just goes to show that nothing lasts forever. Downsizing and living a simple life can often make you happier than dealing with the massive financial stresses of a palatial estate. Still, it’s fun to think about.
Abigail Frost has experience as a mortgage broker and enjoys the chance to crunch the numbers and talk about property online. She writes for a number of property-related websites.