Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Bosworth, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts, Aaron Yoo, and Kieu Chinh star in the 2008 American heist drama film 21, directed by Robert Luketic. The film is based on the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team, as detailed in Ben Mezrich’s best-selling 2003 book Bringing Down the House.
21 was a box office triumph, and it was the number one film in the United States and Canada during its first and second weekends of release, despite conflicting reviews and criticism about the film’s casting choices.
Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a talented student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is in desperate need of money to pay his fees. He joins a group of pupils led by eccentric professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) who use their math skills to win big in Las Vegas.
When Ben is seduced by a gorgeous teammate (Kate Bosworth) and a large sum of money, he discovers that the stakes are much greater than he could have expected when he meets casino enforcer Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).
21 began filming in March of 2007. The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the Red Rock Casino, and the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas were used to film the majority of the Las Vegas sequences. The Christian Science Center in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as Harvard Medical School and Chinatown in Cambridge, were used for filming.
The MIT school and dorm interiors, the gymnasium, and the alumni reception were all shot at Boston University because the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did not allow filming on site.
Against a budget of $35 million, the film grossed a total of $157,802,470 worldwide at the end of its theatrical run—$81,159,365 in the United States and Canada and $76,643,105 in other regions.