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AUSTIN-Movies change: from silent to talkies, from black and white to color, from live actors to computer animation. And movie theaters change as well. They’ve evolved from one-screen movie palaces to multi-screen cineplexes to modern palaces with stadium-seating and super sound systems.

When movies change, old ones go to video or late night television. When theaters change, they often find themselves thrust into different roles. Austin offers an almost geological-like look at how old theaters are used.

For example, the latest changes have occurred across from each other on Anderson Lane. The Alamo Drafthouse has maintained the Village Cinema IV as a first-run movie theater, but it’s added food and drink that theatergoers can consume while watching the big screen. It’s a bigger version of Alamo Drafthouse’s theater-restaurant in Austin’s CBD.

The Northcross Cinema 6 in Northcross Mall is going another route. It is being remodeled into a conference center by Norris Conference Centers. It will have meeting rooms, ballroom and other amenities conducive to conferences. The change is part of the mall’s repositioning to include office space and other services.

The former Americana Theater, Austin’s last one-screen theater, is now a branch of the Austin Public Library. The theater opened in 1965 and closed in 1988. After the city bought the building in 1992, it spent $2.6 million to transform the 15,500-sf structure into a library.

Other theaters have yet to find new uses. General Cinema closed its Highland 10 in north Austin and Great Hills 8 in northwest Austin last year and Regal Cinemas closed its Lake Creek Festival theater in far northwest Austin in February. Regal had previously closed the Lakehills 4 theater in south Austin.

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