Los Angeles Center Studios, California

The old Unocal building escaped the implosion that it once was destined for, because of its use as a filming location. The 12-story building, which looms above the freeway just north of downtown, was the headquarters for worldwide operations of Unocal for almost 40 years. It was built by the company in 1957 and housed 1,500 workers. In 1995, Unocal moved its headquarters to El Segundo, leaving the building to developers who considered demolishing it and building a new tower on the site. The building soon began serving the film industry as a shooting location, which used the lobby, board rooms, offices, and the elegant executive offices on the top floor. As redevelopment plans faltered, the location management company Hollywood Locations (which represents many downtown filming locations), along with other partners, created a studio on the property, including a planned 14 soundstages (six have already been built). Called L. A. Center Studios, it is the first movie studio to be built in the downtown area since the 1920's. Though the soundstages attract some of the filming projects, (Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes occupied four of the stages), the headquarters building is used regularly, both inside and out. Recent productions include Californication, the X-Files movie, CSI Miami, CSI New York, Mission Impossible II, Die Hard 4, Terminator 3, Inception, and the film 13th Floor, which used the 12th floor executive offices. In the 1997 film The Game, the glossy black lobby of the Unocal building serves as the headquarters for the mysterious and too-powerful "virtual reality" company called Consumer Recreational Services, which torments the Michael Douglas character throughout the film.