As with most technological applications, advancement in the motion picture industry seemed to snowball in the late 1990s. By this time, the cinema megaplex had become a more or less standard feature at the typical "class A" American shopping mall.
At the turn of the century, the focus was to greatly improve the ways and means that motion pictures were shown and to create a more memorable movie viewing experience. These goals were achieved by the following developments;
*STADIUM SEATING. Although seeming like an innovation in this day and age, stadium seating in a motion picture venue actually dates back to 1922, when it was introduced at Honolulu, Hawaii's Princess Theatre. Today's stadium seating cinema has rows of seats, arranged in stair step fashion, which eliminate obstructions between the viewer and movie screen.
*IMAX. Another motion picture innovation that might seem new, but actually dates back several years. Developed by Montreal's Imax Corporation, the Imax system was first demonstrated by a showing of the film "Tiger Child". This took place in March 1970, at Osaka, Japan's Expo '70 World's Fair. Imax utilizes a high resolution image projected onto a gigantic screen.
*THX SOUND. A standardized format for theatrical sound reproduction that was developed by Tomlinson Holman, for George Lucas' LucasFilm organization. The first film utilizing THX technology, "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi", premiered in May 1983.
*DIGITAL PROJECTION. This format uses digital technology to capture and distribute a motion picture image...dispensing with conventional film and projectors entirely. Claims and counterclaims not withstanding, Digital Projection was the brainchild of several of the major Hollywood Studios. The first digital delivery and exhibition of a full-length feature film, "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones", occurred in May 2002.
So....from our jaded, post-millennium viewpoint, past innovations in motion picture presentation may now seem rather mundane...what with the all of the high-tech features of the present-day, state-of-the-art movie megaplex. Although the nuance of something such as Sensurround or Dolby Stereo may be lost with the passing of the years, one might keep in mind that, in the 1970s, one of the popular modes of sound reproduction was the 8-track tape.
Even then, 8-track was an inherently inferior sound reproduction format, but it was widely embraced by the buying public. Moreover, the standard television of the time, although possessing color capability, comes off as clunky and primitive when judged by today's standard of high-definition, digital broadcasting.
Perhaps one might also want to consider that the typical cinema ticket in 1970 cost $1.55. Compare that with the whopping $8 to $14 dollar admission to a feature film today and one might feel that all of the ultra-high-tech IMAX-Digital Projection-THX Sound ballyhoo does, indeed, come with a price...