The demonstrators converged in front of what's known as the Pickford-Fairbanks studios at Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue, where in 1928 Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks formed United Artists at the site with Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith.
The developer, CIM Group, plans to demolish two structures on the lot to make way for an office building. Preservationists are worried about what's next.
"It's where Elvis Presley shot movies, 'West Side Story' was shot here, 'Some Like It Hot,' 'The Apartment,' Frank Sinatra has a bungalow back there that's going to be destroyed," said Allison Anders, a filmmaker. "You know this is part of our city's history, but it's also part of international film history."
CIM Group says the upgrades are needed to make the studio competitive in the digital era.