Joe Roth is the Majority Owner of the Seattle Sounders FC. His vision to establish Seattle as the soccer capital of the U.S. was a significant catalyst in the success of Sounders FC over the first six years in Major League Soccer. His foresight has also led to his long-standing achievement in the film and entertainment industry.
As founder of Roth Films, Inc., his recent films include producer of OZ: The Great and Powerful with Director Sam Raimi for Disney, Snow White and the Huntsman with Director Rupert Sanders for Universal and Alice in Wonderland for Disney with Director Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp. Additional productions include Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie for Disney, and Million Dollar Arm, starring Jon Hamm for Disney. During his career in the entertainment industry, Roth has served as chairman of both The Walt Disney Studios and Twentieth Century FOX. In May of 2000, he founded Revolution Studios which released 46 feature films between 2001 and 2007, including Black Hawk Down, which won two Academy Awards®, and XXX, which earned more than $275 million worldwide, as well as Anger Management, Daddy Day Care, Hellboy, 13 Going On 30, White Chicks, The Forgotten, Rocky Balboa, Across the Universe and The Waterhorse. He has also directed six films, the most recent include America’s Sweethearts, Christmas with the Kranks and Freedomland. In 2004, Roth was the Emmy Award-nominated producer of the 76th Annual Academy Awards, which received 10 Emmy Award® nominations, including one for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special, and won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program.
From August 1994 through January 2000, Roth ran Walt Disney Studios, first as Chairman of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, then, beginning in April 1996, as Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. He led the studio to worldwide market dominance over the five years with an industry-leading 18 films grossing over $100 million domestically. Three of those films – The Sixth Sense, Toy Story 2 and Armageddon – grossed more than $200 million in the United States alone. Roth helped to build Buena Vista International into the market leader, finishing first in market share five times in six years, the only company to gross over one billion dollars in each of those years. The studio’s 1999 Best Picture nominees, The Insider and The Sixth Sense, led Disney to an industry-leading 17 Academy Award® nominations. From 1992 to 1994, Roth, with Roger Birnbaum, headed Caravan Pictures, which produced such hits as While You Were Sleeping, Angels in the Outfield and The Three Musketeers for Disney.
Before establishing Caravan Pictures, Roth served as Chairman of Twentieth Century FOX from July 1989 until November 1992. During his tenure at the studio, the company made such successful films as Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Die Hard 2, Sleeping with the Enemy, Mrs. Doubtfire, My Cousin Vinny, White Men Can’t Jump, Edward Scissorhands, The Commitments and The Last of the Mohicans.
Prior to Twentieth Century FOX, Roth was a highly successful independent producer/director, cofounding Morgan Creek Pictures, for which he produced such films as Young Guns, Dead Ringers, Major League and Bachelor Party. Roth directed both Streets of Gold and Revenge of the Nerds II for Twentieth Century FOX, and Coupe De Ville for Universal Pictures. Equally noted for his diverse civic and charitable activities, Roth has received various awards such as the 1991 Variety Clubs Man of the Year Award, the 1996 Humanitarian Award from the NCCJ, the 1997 American Museum of Moving Image Award and was honored in 1998 by APLA and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Roth was also the recipient of the 2004 Dorothy and Sherrill C. Corwin Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee, and is an active supporter of the SIDS alliance.
A lifelong fan, player and coach, Roth now wishes to further his association with soccer by taking the professional game in America to a much higher level of competitiveness and visibility. A New York City native, Roth grew up in the soccer hotbed of Long Island and played from age 10 into his first two years of college. He saw action for both Bowling Green and Hofstra before a career-ending leg injury. He graduated from Boston University in 1970. Roth has four children, Zack, Julia, David and Robert. He was involved in coaching his son Zack’s team for 15 years.