Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson part of a Harvard Case Study


How much do you actually know about Dwayne The Rock Johnson? In a few words let’s be reminded of his beginnings and his breakthrough in Hollywood.

Johnson apparently had a dream of becoming a part of Canadian Football League team, but he was turned down. He recalls coming back home with his father after receiving the news, and the look at his wallet was not promising, only seven dollars left. But even that sad and heart-breaking moment was to some extent useful, as it pushed him through the life as some kind of motivation.

Nowadays, Dwayne is one of the greatest names in Hollywood. Not only is he famous for being a wrestling legend but he also clawed his way towards becoming a famous movie star. He and his partner Dany Garcia are also the producer’s and their company, Seven Bucks Productions, stands behind the many of Dwayne’s successful projects such as Central Intelligence, the upcoming Baywatch, and Ballers.

However, their ambition does not end here. Now they intend to release a digital channel called Seven Bucks Digital Studios.

Harvard professor Anita Elberse, who specializes in the businesses of entertainment, media, and sports, stated:

“I’m fascinated by the evolution and expanding role of superstars,” Elberse said. “The power in the entertainment industry is shifting to the superstars, and the smartest among those stars are finding ways to capitalize on that trend and emerge as business leaders. For me, Dwayne Johnson is a key example—he is an extremely talented individual stepping up by not only excelling on the creative side, but being serious about the business side, too.”

“Johnson was the first A-list actor to launch a digital channel,” said Elberse. “It will be interesting to analyze how that move fits into the broader picture of how his brand and company are evolving.”


She interviewed both Johnson and Garcia:

“I flew to Atlanta to sit down with Dwayne when he was on location to shoot the movie Fast 8,” Elberse said. “We talked for several hours about his path to success in wrestling, acting, and producing, how he went about building his company, and what his ambitions are.”

But she also had some words on Dany Garcia:

“Hers is a path that might look a little more familiar to MBA students: she studied finance and marketing at the University of Miami, worked at Merrill Lynch, and founded her own wealth-management firm, all before Dwayne asked her to take over the management of his enterprise. That she’s also Dwayne’s ex-wife and that they have a terrific working relationship makes the story really unique.”

Overwhelmed by their enormous success, Elberse is interested in the circumstances and events that helped them get to that place. For the end she stated:

“They are remarkable people,” she said. “Dwayne’s career speaks for itself. And Dany is running a billion-dollar business, all while competing as a professional bodybuilder. They’re both grabbing every opportunity available to them and are running with it, full speed ahead. It’s incredibly inspiring. I can’t wait to go into the classroom, discuss the case with my students, and find out what business lessons emerge for the rest of us who are not as tall, handsome, and muscular.”