During the 1970s, as the multiplex phenomenon spread to shopping centers across the nation, the motion picture industry introduced state-of-the-art audio improvements to enhance the motion picture experience. These were as follows;
*SENSURROUND. Developed by Cerwin-Vega Audio and Universal Studios, it added extended-range bass to a movie soundtrack. Introduced with the November 1974 release of "Earthquake", the Sensurround effect was felt more than heard...especially during on-screen depictions of earth tremors, aerial dog fights and roller coaster rides. After only four features, the Sensurround format was abandoned. It had proved to be impractical when used in a multiplex theater configuration with several adjacent auditoria.
*DOLBY STEREO. Perfected by San Francisco's Dolby Laboratories, this innovation in audio was first utilized during the filming of "A Clockwork Orange", which premiered in December 1971. Unfortunately, the film was released with a standard, monaural soundtrack. In 1973, Dolby Labs joined forces with Eastman-Kodak and RCA. A new "Dolby Stereo" system was perfected, which was similar to ABC-Sansui's "QS" matrix quadraphonic format. "Liztomania", released in October 1975, was the first feature film to utilize Dolby Stereo. "Star Wars", which premiered in May 1977, contributed greatly to the success of the new format.
Meanwhile, the logical progression from the six to eight screen multiplex had taken place with the 1978 dedication of Cobb Theatres' Cinema City 8, at Birmingham, Alabama's ROEBUCK SHOPPING CENTER.
By the early 1980s, the final phase in the evolution of the Shopping Mall Movie House was underway. The sound quality of the motion picture had taken a giant step forward during the 1970s and the 8-screen venue had entered the proverbial picture. Now it was time to build the first Shopping Mall Movie House with more than eight screens. Enter the motion picture MEGAPLEX.
America's first opened -in July 1982- as part of Los Angeles, California's BEVERLY CENTER mall. Originally housing fourteen separate auditoria, the Beverly Center 14 was modified in the late 1980s into a 13-screen venue.