Law of Diminishing Celebrity Utility [Complete with Visual Aid]

I have a theory. Well, it's not my theory per se, but it's my application of a theory. Or a law, rather.

It's called the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility (stay with me). Basically it states that the desire for a product/food/etc. diminishes over time as it is consumed. For example, if you're really thirsty, that first glass of water is going to be glorious. It will taste like you're drinking from a crystal spring that's never been altered by man. Even if it's actually from a water fountain in the mall. But the more you drink, the less desirable the water becomes, because you're no longer craving it. Same goes for things like pancakes, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" or a Dane Cook joke. No matter how much you initially enjoyed it, you've reached a point where it's not appealing any more.

I propose this applies to the number of celebrities starring in a movie. One celebrity: totally acceptable. Three celebrities: even better. But slowly you approach the breaking point.


I made a chart to explain this very phenomenon. (Thanks for saying "ooooooo" enthusiastically.) Behold:

You'll note that around the six-actor mark we hit an interesting point in which we start to question the overall validity of the film.

Six celebrities? Hm, okay...a little unusual and unnecessary to have that many leads, but whatever. Maybe it's justified. Steve Carrell plays an aspiring astronaut, so it's worth a shot.

Pushing it a little further starts getting you into dangerous territory. Seven celebrities...ten celebrities...

And before you know it, here you are:

Note: This poster doesn't even include the entire celebrity cast.

We let Valentine's Day slide because we didn't know what we were getting into. Honestly, we'd just never seen that many celebrities packed into one film, and we were interested to see how that would even work.

But not this time. Not. This. Time.

Now we know better.

Putting approximately 23 celebrities in the same movie severely diminishes their face time, reducing it to little more than a cameo. Rule of thumb: if you can't fit all the celebrities' faces into a 1:30 minute trailer without just flashing photos to a music montage like a YouTube fan video, you've gone too far.

I think the producers just got carried away. It's like they started making a sandwich, then thought, hey, I like fruit loops and ketchup too, so what if I pile those on top? It'd be extra delicious!

Maybe the casting directors just passed a hat around L.A., and each of the actors lazily threw their name in and shrugged, "eh, why not?" (Or in Sofia Vergara's case, "Eh, por que no?")

But now they must live with the consequences of their seemingly lackadaisical decision-making, emblazoned on their IMDB page forever. ("What was 'New Years Eve'? And why did she play 'Cynical Best Friend #1' during the peak of her career?")

I'd almost expect this kind of thing from Hilary Swank. But really, Ludacris? We thought you were better than that.


What's your limit on the number of celebrities in a movie?