Consumers typically purchase creative products, such as movies, based on hedonic benefits related to experiential enjoyment and sensory experience. To assess the uncertain quality of such creative products prior to consumption, consumers rely on information related to the products’ “human brands”, such as the star actors as they offer a risk-reducing signal. A rich body of research has addressed the question whether stars are critical to the success of creative products, such as movies. However, the existing empirical studies do not provide a clear-cut picture of the importance of stars. Creative industry experts continuously debate whether the movie industry’s enormous investments in stars pay off. Our study provides a meta-analysis of the relationship between star power and movies’ success based on 35 primary studies. A key finding is that the mean effect size for star power is significantly higher than zero but lower than expected. Furthermore, the authors assess whether and how substantive and methodological factors moderate stars’ effects on movie success. The results show, among other findings, that studio executives should select stars based on their track record of box office successes instead of artistic merits.
Creative industries; Movie; Star power; Meta-analysis