Producing movie after movie with your sister’s ex-husband could easily become awkward. Not so for Hiram Garcia, head of production at Seven Bucks Prods., the company behind a string of box-office hits starring WWE powerhouse turned Hollywood megastar Dwayne Johnson.
But then again he and Johnson, once known as “The Rock,” go back decades.
“They’ve known each other for so long, so there is a real shorthand — and an incredible trust — between them,” says Beau Flynn, who produced Johnson-starring films including “San Andreas,” “Skyscraper” and “Rampage” with Garcia. “It’s not easy to tell your boss, the biggest movie star in the world, that you want to talk through an idea, or that maybe there’s another path. And Hiram does it with such elegance and honesty. Dwayne knows that Hiram is always gonna tell him the truth … and he respects and appreciates that.”
“When I first met Hiram back in college, I didn’t know he would be a lifelong collaborator,” says Johnson, who next stars in the upcoming “Fast & Furious” spin-off “Hobbs & Shaw,” with Garcia as a producer. “He was 14 and I was 18, so we were just two punk kids talking shit to each other about who was better at video games. It was in the wild world of pro wrestling where Hiram cut his creative teeth and worked very closely with me. Even at that time we were always talking about the idea of growing,” he says.
The billion-dollar producer started as a music major, looking to break into the recording industry. “Once I got into it, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it wasn’t for me,” he says. “So I was in between jobs and trying to find my path. When Dwayne got [2002’s] ‘The Scorpion King,’ he invited me over, and asked me to help out. Once I got on set on ‘Scorpion King,’ that’s when I realized ‘That’s it. That’s what I want to do.’”
He took some screenwriting classes in Miami, and worked on 2004’s “Walking Tall” with Johnson. “That’s when I realized, if I really want to be a producer, by assisting [Dwayne] I’m learning nothing. Everything comes to him. I wanted to learn everything from the ground up. I went back to Florida and I started P.A.-ing on commercials.”
Working as a gofer, he renewed his childhood passion for movies while on set, citing Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” as a particular favorite.
Seven Bucks aims to capture some of the magic of Spielberg’s most popular films — popcorn movies with wide appeal.
“He has excellent taste,” says sister Dany Garcia, who took over managing Johnson’s career after they divorced and is co-founder and co-CEO of Seven Bucks. “He has a standard of filmmaking that is the highest in the group.”
She says her brother is always focused on the bigger picture — managing the brand, building relationships, but most of all, focusing on the audience experience. “All three of us obviously spent a lot of time in wrestling, and that perspective of ‘what is the audience feeling?’ Hiram has that so firmly entrenched.
“We have this history that is unduplicatable,” Dany adds.
The Seven Bucks production head also moonlights as a photographer, a skill he developed largely by watching YouTube tutorials. Back in March, Leica Camera hosted an exhibition of Garcia’s on-set photos at Elga Wimmer Gallery in New York.
Beyond “Hobbs & Shaw,” which opens Aug. 2, he has a number of productions in the works, including Seven Bucks projects “Shazam”-spinoff “Black Adam” and Robert Zemeckis’ “The King.”
“Hiram has always been ready to galvanize and take risks — but never haphazardly — always considerate, calculated risks,” Johnson says. “That’s the key.
“But here’s the brass tacks, bottom-line reasons Hiram Garcia is a billion-dollar producer. He cares deeply about our global audience and sending them home happy, but most importantly, he’s a good quality human being.”
Garcia’s Big Hits
Hiram Garcia has racked up more than $1 billion in worldwide grosses for films including:
“Skyscraper” (2018): $304.9 million
“Rampage” (2018): $428 million
“Baywatch”* (2017): $177.9 million
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”* (2017): $962.1 million
“San Andreas”* (2015): $474 million