The Avengers
Credit: Zade Rosenthal

It’s a good thing Tony Stark is a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist — because New York City may need him to take off his super suit and pull out his checkbook. The Hollywood Reporter asked disaster assessment firm Kinetic Analysis Corp to estimate how much it would cost, theoretically, to repair the damage done to midtown Manhattan in The Avengers. The firm’s dedicated number-crunchers gleefully tented their fingers, put aside their real work, and came up with a hypothetical total: a staggering $160 billion.

Looks like Thor might have to break into Asgard’s treasury as well.

The breakdown: Physical damage of the Chitauri’s invasion, including their near-demolition of Grand Central Terminal, would cost between $60 billion and $70 billion. Cleanup and the cost to NYC’s economy would be an additional $20 billion. The thousands of lives lost kick the total up by another $70 billion. “For context,” writes THR, “the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks cost $83 billion, Hurricane Katrina cost $90 billion, and the tsunami in Japan last year washed away $122 billion.”

Yes, comparing this fictional damage-fest to real catastrophes with real casualties may be icky. But I’m going to give Kinetic Analysis points for carefully considering everything from how the battle would affect New York’s subterranean infrastructure to who would hypothetically be liable for this damage. (“Given the involvement of individuals considered deities in some cultures (Thor, Loki),” notes the firm, “there is even the potential to classify the event as an ‘act of God,’ though that designation would be subject to strenuous theological and legal debate.” Amazing.)

Their methodology sure seems sound — though it would be difficult for anyone estimating an enormous, fictional amount of money to be more thorough than Forbes editor Michael Noer, who spent way too much time in April figuring out how much treasure Smaug the Dragon owns. Ain’t the Internet grand?

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