Ben Stiller’s Character in ‘Night at the Museum’ Only Made $11.50 an Hour

Ben Stiller’s Character in ‘Night at the Museum’ Only Made $11.50 an Hour

How much is it worth to deal with a museum exhibit coming to life and seeing Theodore Roosevelt’s wax figure and a polyurethane model of Sacagawea roam the halls? 

According to Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) in Night at the Museum, back in 2006, the going hourly rate for a night-shift security guard at New York’s American Museum of Natural History was $11.50.

For the sake of examination, Twitter user @BenjaminCrew1, who tweeted the moment from the movie when Larry laments his working conditions and shares his salary, adjusted the rate for inflation, estimating that someone in that role currently would be making $17.40 an hour, or $2.40 above the New York minimum wage for a business the size of the museum.

Appallingly, the original rate would technically be considered good when you take into account that the New York state minimum wage in 2006 was $6.75. I’m, of course, using the term “good” loosely, as none of these wages are actually livable for most people, especially for someone like Larry, a divorced father between jobs who is couch surfing in Brooklyn. 

Under the assumption that Larry was able to secure a 40-hour work week, he’d be taking home $23,920 a year before taxes. After your usual expenses, a cross-borough commute and possible child support, that leaves a pretty paltry amount for the rest of life. The inflation-adjusted rate would push him closer to $37,000, which still isn’t great as Manhattan area rents are reaching all-time highs and the $1 slice now costs a buck-fifty.

Not to mention, none of this takes into account the ancient curse he spends most of the work day (night?) battling against. Screw the minimum wage, someone get this man hazard pay.

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