Breaking Bad: How Much Cash Was in That Storage Unit?

In an exchange that seemed at least partially aimed at the internet, Skyler told Walt during Sunday's Breaking Bad finale that he'd made too much money for one person to count, let alone launder. But the internet loves a challenge, and so it was probably only a matter of time before someone tried to come up with a better response to Walt's inquiry of "How much is this?" than Skyler's "I have no earthly idea."

Knowing that Walt gave a couple of duffle bags to Jesse—presumably the $5 million he was owed and not a cent more—you'd expect the total in the storage unit to be much higher. But how high? Walt previously turned down a $5 million payout from selling the methylamine to Declan and then worked for several months straight with Todd to cook for his own territory, for Declan's territory, and for Lydia's Czech Republic territory combined. That's a lot of meth and lot of profit, even with Declan and Lydia taking a healthy piece of it.

Yesterday, a pair of tweets by Baseball America writer (and likely stats geek) JJ Cooper posited that Walt's haul is somewhere between $17 and $25.5 million depending on the size of the denominations of the bills:

And a thread on Quora estimates larger dimensions for the cube, arriving at a total as high as $43.8 million in the (unlikely) event that every bundle in the block contained $5,000.

Here's a side-by-side look at Walt wrapping a bundle of twenties into a packet of $2,000, as seen in "Gliding Over All," and a bundle of $100 bills that amounts to $10,000:

Since Skyler mentioned mixed denominations, the total per bundle is somewhere in between. Depending on your opinion regarding the dimensions of the money cube, you can arrive at wildly different totals, from a floor of $15 million all the way up to $80 million.

Here's a side-by-side look at Breaking Bad's money pile and a pile that amounts to $205 million, from a 2007 drug raid in Mexico City.

Show creator Vince Gilligan said in this week's Breaking Bad Insider Podcast that $80 million might be a bit too high:

"I asked prop master Mark Hansen, and he and his guys had tried, just for their own edification, to figure out how much that would be if it was roughly a half-and-half mix of twenties and fifties, and he guessed somewhere in the vicinity of eighty million dollars—eighty, eighty-five, ninety—that's a lotta dough. I don't know, we may have erred on the side of showmanship there instead of reality, I don't know if [Walt] could've made that much that quickly."

So how much would it take for Walt to walk away entirely? We know that Skyler was able to launder the money via the car wash when it was only in the single-digit millions territory. She likely waited to rent the storage unit until she was dealing with more than $10 million. So where did the total end up? I'd bet it's somewhere north of $50 million.

What do you guys think? Post your own calculations in the comments!

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12 stacks length, about 40 stacks high, 20 stacks width which would be 9600 stacks, most have the brown label which i think is 5k so a perfect pile with all the same amount of stacks would come to 48,000,000 (48 million)
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60 million.
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S4E7 has Skylar complaining that 50's are too high a denomination for her to launder without suspicion ("Who pays for a car wash with fifties?") so the denomination must be smaller....unless Walt just didn't GAF and gave her 50's and 100's anyway. Which is a distinct possibility.
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The answer is not in counting pile but in counting work. Walt said he would raise production to 100pounds per week. And worked 3 months so 13weeks. So if he sold for the 40000 a pound than its 40000x13x100 which is 52milion usd minus five for jessey and max 1 milion for crew and expences.
So the pile is 46 milion usd.
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I bet Skyler is gonna burn up that stack in the season finale. Joker style :"Everything burns!"
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I wont even attempt to do any math... my "blind" guess would be 46,185,230.01. Yes, there's a penny under the tarp.
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i guessed $35 Million when i saw it.
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Jeez it's fiction if Vince said they erred a bit high people should stop wasting their time and like go outside or something!!
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I know right?..the no life bastards who do they think they are taking a whole 2-3 minutes to count the volume of the stack and come up with a simple equation for a bit of fun...they should just make a stupid comment about going outside instead
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Everything's all set up for an exciting crossover episode with Storage Hunters. (It will no doubt be the *series* finale of the latter.)

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Episode 3 of this season shows in the first 10 minutes Walt unpacking a box, there are 4 books in it, first one is Walt Whitmans Leaves of Grass. Walt smiles and leaves the book on top of the bed side table, the other 3 he puts on the drawer. Nice Vince..
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Nice Guess!!!
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I'd be eternally grateful for even ONE of those stacks...hah, let alone the whole pile.



I'm poor :-(
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With all due respect, I love Breaking Bad, but I can't believe someone would take all the trouble of going through several calculations just to guess how much money it was. Ok, unless you're high with meth. I mean, math, of course...
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How is that any weirder than *talking* about the show? It's not that difficult to do a count and multiply a few numbers together.
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Don't be touchy. It was just a brilliant ploy of mine to use my math/meth pun. Don't read too much into it, please.
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wow, could you imagine if the guys from storage wars found a unit like this.
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Approx 11,000 individual bundles (freeze frame on my TV shows it is close to 60 high x 12 x 15)



Split them thus: 6,000x$5,000 3,000x$2,000 and 2,000x10,000 (Two other frames pretty much confirm this split) and we get $56million.



Not knowing the true amount of all the bundles but assuming just the 3 denominations, you get an average $5,666.66 each. Times by 11,000 you get $62,333,260. So everyone who guessed between $50m and $70m were pretty spot on IMHO.



Going by production/profit per pound over 3 months can't be calculated as closely as a) We don't know how much went abroad and b) We don't know how many houses were being 'fumigated' consecutively.



I do know one thing though, wasting the last 30 minutes on this just proves to me how much I'm hanging out for the next episode. looool
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Did you actually see 100 dollar bills in the pile? I only saw 20s wrapped in blue, 50s wrapped in brown, and *something* wrapped in green.
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Oh the places you can go with a stash of cash like that in tow. Great episode! I look forward to seeing what happens next!
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15x15x15 is very wrong. Why would they think that the height is only 15 bundles? I think it's about 60. The width is exactly 12. This can be seen clearly in the shot from the back. It looks like 11 in the shot from the front (see the last picture above), but we only see the shorter stacks clearly. So I say that there are 11 shorter stacks in front of the 12 full-sized ones. The depth (front-to-back) is...well it's hard to tell. I think it's roughly 16. So 15 isn't a bad estimate.



Here's what I said on the episode review page:



About 50 million dollars.



I did a rough count. The pile contains roughly 16*12*60 bundles, not counting the slightly smaller stacks on the side facing the door. I saw the counter stop at 100 at one time during the "crystal blue persuation" montage, so I'm assuming 100 bills per bundle. I saw the denominations 50 and 20 in the top layer, but I saw a lot more 50's than 20's. So I'm guessing 3/4 50's and 1/4 20's. That gives us a total of 16*12*60*100*(3/4*50+1/4*20) = 48 960 000. But it's a rough estimate. As I said, I didn't include the smaller stacks, and I obviously can't know the denominations of the bills in the layers below the top.
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OK. Some new estimates. The dimensions of the pile are roughly 16x12x43. If we assume half 20s and half 50s as Gilligan suggested, we get about 29 million. If we guess 50% 50s, 30% 20s and 20% 100s, we get about 42 million.
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Counting the height of the stack in that last screen seems ~40, max 50, isn't it?.. & btw., them two have a conversation about how she's got no clue what the denominations are.
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You're right. I checked again. This time I did a screen grab, and enlarged it. It's still impossible to see exactly, but it's definitely less than 60. My new estimate is 43. I don't think it's less than 40. If I just change 60 to 43 in my calculation, I get



16 * 12 * 43 * 100 * (((3 / 4) * 50) + ((1 / 4) * 20)) = 35 088 000.



But you are also right about the denominations. In the top layer, we only see 20s wrapped in blue and 50s wrapped in brown, but on the sides, we also see some green wrapping paper, suggesting that there's at least one more denomination involved.
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definitely not 60 bundles high, more like 30
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after a couple more counts I got 33-37 high 12-13 left to right and 13-14 back to front (so avarage it out to 35-12-14 its 5880 bundles)



since there were bundles of 2k 5k and 10k I think the fair thing to do would be average it to bundles of 7k



so 7000x5880 = 41,160,000



thats my estimate....do we win anything if the actual number comes out for being the closest hehehe
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yeah I got between 30-35 high
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walt took over for gus, but was not cooking as much as when he had the fancy lab. the production of the lab was set to make 200 pounds a week with a 3 month earning of 96 million according to walter. lets say walter produces 100 pounds a week ( while i estimate the total is closer to 70 or 80 ). if walter produced a 100 pounds a week then the pay out would be 48 million in a 3 month span. maybe add 2 million simply because walt has less overhead then gus did. no 100's of thousands on equipment or an excess of employees. i bring that total up to 50 million. i estimate the total would go up 5 to 8 million based on the expansion into area's gus was not distributing, but there is a problem with that. the thing to remember isn't how many places blue sky is sold, but rather how much is produced. walter has a new, and less prepared assistant. walter is working with equipment which produces smaller amounts per cook. not a big difference, but big enough.. the set up time is size able over time. walt may have more time to cook, but i doubt he makes his 200 pound a week quota. if he did then the profit would be close to 100 million so clearly it was 100 to 150 pounds a week. all and all i'm taking the 48 million while i think the actual amount is more like 58 million. i'm going 48 million
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Cool, a much easier way to calculate it; nice 1! ;)
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I meant "Skyler", sorry, my bad.
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Yeh, here's the thing. Instead of stressing on how much cash is in the pile, let's all stress on why Walt freaked out about Skylar bailing Ted out with 600k when we'd previously seen Walt delivering money in boatloads for Skylar to stash.There's reality and then there's TV.

Not always a perfect fit.
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1) It wasn't just that 600K was a lot of money. He didn't want to give *any* money to the guy who ****ed his wife.

2) At the time when Walt found out that Skyler had given 600K to Ted, his plan was to use that money to buy new identities for the whole family and go on the run. He thought that this was the only way to avoid getting himself and the rest of his family killed.
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This.



It's important to stress that at the time it happened 600k was a very large sum of money and left them with very little cash on hand...though to even ask the question makes me wonder if the OP was mixing episodes when watching season 4 and 5 because it's pretty clear by the end of season 4 Walt basically has very little of the cash he made working with Gus left.
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$95 million. I speak from experience.
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you got that blue stuff?
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Can I come over?
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after my fees it's about 10mil
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Ha ha Price you are the man.
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Here's a stab at it.



http://i1178.photobucket.com/albums/x376/throughtime1/BB_WW_Monies.jpg
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