The fire raging at Universal Studios in Los Angeles rivalled infernos seen in many of the films produced at the world-famous venue.
The fire started at dawn and took firefighters hours to contain. Parts of the site were still smouldering on Sunday.
A New York street scene, the King Kong exhibit and a square seen in Back to the Future were destroyed in the blaze.
The fire is thought to have started on a sound stage of the studios. An advertisement is reported to have been being filmed at the time.
Plumes of thick black smoke rose into the sky, where water-dropping helicopters helped fight the blaze.
Television crews broadcast footage of the fire from helicopters to live news channels.
Three firefighters are reported to have been injured as they fought the fire on the 400-acre site.
Firefighters also helped in salvage operations - saving hundreds of videos from a video vault that caught fire.
Universal Studios paid tribute to the firefighters, saying they were real heroes who had contained a fire that could have burned horribly out of control.
But it was too late to save some buildings. Reports say at least one explosion was heard - thought to be propane tanks.
Despite the extent of the fire, the studios say the site will be open to the public as usual on Monday, although some tours will be affected.