ⓘ Prometheus (2012 film)
Prometheus is a 2012 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof and starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, and Charlize Theron. It is set in the late 21st century and centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as it follows a star map discovered among the artifacts of several ancient Earth cultures. Seeking the origins of humanity, the crew arrives on a distant world and discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human species.
Development of the film began in the early 2000s as a fifth installment in the Alien franchise. Scott and director James Cameron developed ideas for a film that would serve as a prequel to Scotts 1979 science-fiction horror film Alien. In 2002, the development of Alien vs. Predator took precedence, and the project remained dormant until 2009 when Scott again showed interest. Spaihts wrote a script for a prequel to the events of the Alien films, but Scott opted for a different direction to avoid repeating cues from those films. In late 2010, Lindelof joined the project to rewrite Spaihtss script, and he and Scott developed a story that precedes the story of Alien but is not directly connected to that franchise. According to Scott, although the film shares "strands of Alien s DNA, so to speak", and takes place in the same universe, Prometheus explores its own mythology and ideas.
Prometheus entered production in April 2010, with extensive design phases during which the technology and creatures that the film required were developed. Principal photography began in March 2011, with an estimated $120–130 million budget. The project was shot using 3D cameras throughout, almost entirely on practical sets, and on location in England, Iceland, Spain, and Scotland. It was promoted with a marketing campaign that included viral activities on the web. Three videos featuring the films leading actors in character, which expanded on elements of the fictional universe, were released and met with a generally positive reception and awards.
Prometheus was released on June 1, 2012, in the United Kingdom and on June 8, 2012, in North America. The film was praised for the designs, production values and cast performances, but received criticism for formulaic and unresolved plot points. The film grossed over $403 million worldwide. A sequel, Alien: Covenant, was released in May 2017.
As a spacecraft departs a planet, a humanoid alien drinks an iridescent liquid, causing its body to dissolve. As its remains cascade into a waterfall, the aliens DNA falls apart and recombines.
In 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map in Scotland that matches others from several unconnected ancient cultures. They interpret this as an invitation from humanitys forerunners, the "Engineers." Peter Weyland, the elderly CEO of Weyland Corporation, funds an expedition, aboard the scientific vessel Prometheus, to follow the map to the distant moon LV-223. The ships crew travels in stasis while the android David monitors their voyage. Arriving in December 2093, mission-director Meredith Vickers informs them of their mission to find the Engineers and not to make contact without her permission.
The Prometheus lands on the barren, mountainous surface near a large, artificial structure, which a team explores. Inside, they find stone cylinders, a monolithic statue of a humanoid head, and the decapitated corpse of a large alien, thought to be an Engineer; Shaw recovers its head. The crew finds other bodies, leading them to surmise the species is extinct. Crew members Millburn and Fifield grow uncomfortable with the discoveries and attempt to return to Prometheus, but become stranded in the structure when they get lost. The expedition is cut short when a storm forces the crew to return to the ship. David secretly takes a cylinder from the structure, while the remaining cylinders begin leaking a dark liquid. In the ships lab, the Engineers DNA is found to match that of humans. David investigates the cylinder and the liquid inside. He intentionally taints a drink with the liquid and gives it to the unsuspecting Holloway, who had stated he would do anything for answers. Shortly after, Shaw and Holloway have sex.
Inside the structure, a snake-like creature kills Millburn and sprays a corrosive fluid that melts Fifields helmet. Fifield falls face-first into a puddle of dark liquid. When the crew returns, they find Millburns corpse. David separately discovers a control room containing a surviving Engineer in stasis, and a large 3D holographic star map highlighting Earth. Meanwhile, Holloway sickens rapidly. He is rushed back to Prometheus, but Vickers refuses to let him aboard, and at his urging, burns him to death with a flamethrower. Later, a medical scan reveals that Shaw, despite being previously infertile, is now in advanced pregnancy. Fearing the worst, she uses an automated surgery table to extract a squid-like creature from her abdomen. Shaw then discovers that Weyland has been in stasis aboard Prometheus. He explains that he wants to ask the Engineers how to prevent his death from old age. As Weyland prepares to leave for the structure, Vickers addresses him as "Father".
A monstrous, mutated Fifield returns to the Prometheus and kills several crew members before he is killed. The Prometheus captain, Janek, speculates that the structure was an Engineer military base that lost control of a virulent biological weapon, the dark liquid. He also determines that the structure houses a spacecraft. Weyland and a team return to the structure, accompanied by Shaw. David wakes the Engineer from stasis and speaks to him in an attempt to explain what Weyland wants. The Engineer responds by decapitating David and killing Weyland and his team, before reactivating the spacecraft. Shaw flees and warns Janek that the Engineer is planning to release the liquid on Earth, convincing him to stop the spacecraft. Janek and the remaining crew sacrifice themselves by ramming the Prometheus into the alien craft, ejecting the lifeboat in the process, while Vickers flees in an escape pod. The Engineers disabled spacecraft crashes onto the ground, killing Vickers. Shaw goes to the lifeboat and finds her alien offspring is alive and has grown to gigantic size. Davids still-active head warns Shaw that the Engineer is pursuing her. The Engineer forces open the lifeboats airlock and attacks Shaw, who releases her alien offspring onto the Engineer; it thrusts an ovipositor down the Engineers throat, subduing him. Shaw recovers Davids remains, and with his help, launches another Engineer spacecraft. She intends to reach the Engineers homeworld in an attempt to understand why they wanted to destroy humanity.
In the lifeboat, an alien creature bursts out of the Engineers chest.
- Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw
- Michael Fassbender as David
- Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers
- Sean Harris as Fifield
- Rafe Spall as Millburn
Other cast members include Kate Dickie as the ships medic, Ford; Emun Elliott and Benedict Wong as, respectively, ship pilots Chance and Ravel; and Patrick Wilson as Shaws father. Ian Whyte and Daniel James portray Engineers.
The central theme in Prometheus concerns the eponymous Titan of Greek mythology who defies the gods and gifts humanity with fire, for which he is subjected to eternal punishment. The gods want to limit their creations in case they attempt to usurp the gods. The film deals with humanitys relationship with the gods - their creators - and the consequence of defying them. A human expedition intends to find God and receive knowledge about belief, immortality and death. They find superior beings who appear god-like in comparison to humanity, and the Prometheus crew suffer consequences for their pursuit. Shaw is directly responsible for the events of the plot because she wants her religious beliefs affirmed, and believes she is entitled to answers from God; her questions remain unanswered and she is punished for her hubris. The film offers similar resolution, providing items of information but leaving the connections and conclusions to the audience, potentially leaving the question unanswered. Further religious allusions are implied by the Engineers decision to punish humanity with destruction 2.000 years before the events of the film. Scott suggested that an Engineer was sent to Earth to stop humanitys increasing aggression, but was crucified, implying it was Jesus Christ. However, Scott felt that an explicit connection in the film would be "a little too on the nose."
Artificial intelligence, a unifying theme throughout Scotts career as a director, is particularly evident in Prometheus, primarily through the android David. David is like humans but does not want to be like them, eschewing a common theme in "robotic storytelling" such as Blade Runner. David is created in the image of humanity, and while the human crew of the Prometheus ship searches for their creators expecting answers, David exists among his human creators yet is underwhelmed; he questions his creators about why they are seeking their own. Lindelof described the ship as a prison for David. At the conclusion of the film, Davids creator Weyland is dead and his fundamental programming will end without someone to serve. Lindelof explained that Davids programming becomes unclear and that he could be programmed by Shaw or his own sense of curiosity. Following Weylands death, David is left with Shaw, and is sincere and interested in following her, partly out of survival and partly out of curiosity.
Another theme is creation and the question of "Who Am I? Who Made Me? Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?" Development of the in-universe mythology explored the Judeo-Christian creation of man, but Scott was interested in Greco-Roman and Aztec creation myths about gods who create man in their own image by sacrificing a piece of themselves. This creation is shown in the films opening in which an Engineer sacrifices itself after consuming the dark liquid, acting as a "gardener in space" to bring life to a world. One of their expeditions creates humanity, who create artificial life David in their own image. David then introduces the dark liquid to Holloway who impregnates a sterile Shaw, and the resulting child impregnates an Engineer, creating the child of all three generations. Scott likened the Engineers to the dark angels of John Miltons Paradise Lost, and said that humanity was their offspring and not Gods.
Shaw is the only religious believer in the crew and openly displays her religious belief with a necklace of a Christian cross. Lindelof said that with her scientific knowledge, her beliefs felt outdated in 2093. Shaw is excited when she learns that she was created by the Engineers and not a supernatural deity, but rather than cause her to lose her faith, it reinforces it. Lindelof said that asking questions and searching for meaning is the point of being alive, and so the audience is left to question whether Shaw was protected by God because of her faith. Scott wanted the film to end with Shaws declaration that she is still searching for definitive answers. In addition to the religious themes, Lindelof said that Prometheus is pro-science and explores whether scientific knowledge and faith in God can co-exist.
Beside drawing several influences from Paradise Lost, The Atlantic s Govindini Murty noted further influences, and wrote that "he striking images Ridley Scott devises for Prometheus reference everything from Stanley Kubricks 2001 to Leonardo da Vincis Vitruvian Man and Mario Bavas Planet of the Vampires. Scott also expands on the original Alien universe by creating a distinctly English mythology informed by Miltons Paradise Lost and the symbolic drawings of William Blake."
4.1. Production Development
Development on a fifth film in the Alien franchise was in progress by 2002. Scott considered returning to the series he created with his 1979 science fiction horror film Alien, to pursue a sequel that would explore the engineered origins of the seriess Alien creatures, and the "space jockey" - the extraterrestrial being, who briefly appears in Alien, as the deceased pilot of a derelict spaceship. Alien star Sigourney Weaver also expressed interest in returning to the series. Aliens director James Cameron discussed the potential for a sequel with Scott, and began working with another writer on a story for the film. It was then that 20th Century Fox approached Cameron with a script for a crossover film that would pit the seriess monsters against the title characters of the Predator films; this project became the 2004 science fiction film Alien vs. Predator. After Fox confirmed that it would pursue the crossover, Cameron stopped working on his own project, believing the crossover would "kill the validity of the franchise." In 2006, Cameron confirmed that he would not return to the Alien sequel project, believing that the series was Foxs asset, and he was unwilling to deal with the studios attempts to influence the potential sequel.
In May 2009, Fox said that the project was a "reboot" of the Alien franchise, and soon afterwards was reported as an untitled prequel to Alien. Development stopped in June 2009 when Fox clashed with Scott over his selection of former television advertisement director Carl Erik Rinsch as director. Fox was only interested in pursuing the project if Scott directed. By July 2009, Scott was contracted to direct the film, and screenwriter Jon Spaihts was hired to write the script based on his pitched idea for a direct Alien prequel. With the director and writer in place, and pleased with Spaihtss pitch, Fox scheduled a release date for December 2011, but this was eventually canceled. In June 2010, Scott announced that the script was complete and that pre-production would begin, and a filming date was set for January 2011. Fox eventually pushed to develop the project into an original work, and by July 2010, Lindelof had been hired to redevelop Spaihtss screenplay. In October 2010, Lindelof submitted his rewritten screenplay to Fox. Scott had initially requested a $250 million budget and an adult oriented project, but Fox was reluctant to invest this amount of money, and wanted to ensure the film would receive a lower age-rating to broaden the potential audience.
In December 2010, it was reported that the film would be called Paradise, named after John Miltons poem Paradise Lost, but Scott considered that this would convey too much information about the film. Fox CEO Thomas Rothman suggested Prometheus, which was confirmed as the title in January 2011. A release date was scheduled for March 9, 2012, but weeks later the release was postponed until June 8, 2012. With the name confirmed, the production team began to publicly distance the film from its Alien origins, and were deliberately vague about the connection between the films, believing it would build audience anticipation for Prometheus. Scott stated that "while Alien was indeed the jumping-off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative." In June 2011, Scott and Lindelof confirmed that Prometheus takes place in the same universe as the events of the Alien series. In July 2011, Scott stated that "by the end of the third act you start to realize theres a DNA of the very first Alien, but none of the subsequent, at some of Erich von Danikens ideas of how did we humans come about." Spaihts originated the idea that David, the android, is like humans but does not want to be anything like them, eschewing a common theme in "robotic storytelling" such as Blade Runner. He also developed the theme that while the human crew is searching for their creators, David is already among its creators. Scott liked these ideas and further explored them in Lindelofs rewrite. For Shaw, Lindelof felt it was important that she was distinct from Alien s Ripley, to avoid inevitable comparisons between the two characters. In Spaihtss draft, Shaw was directly responsible for the events of the plot because she wants to seek out potentially dangerous knowledge. As with David, Lindelof expanded this facet of the character during his rewrites. He spent approximately eight months developing the script, finishing in March 2011 as filming began.
4.2. Production Pre-production
Pre-production began in April 2010. A team developed graphic designs for the film. Scott convinced Fox to invest millions of dollars to hire scientists and conceptual artists to develop a vision of the late 21st century. The production of Prometheus was marked by a high degree of secrecy and story details were kept "extremely under-wraps." Ridley Scott was determined to maintain the secrecy of the plot, and he required the cast to sign clauses to prevent them disclosing story details, and the cast were allowed to read the script only under supervision in Scotts production office. One exception was made when a courier flew the script to one actor outside the US, and then stood guard while the actor read it. Scott said, "I was insistent that the script not leak onto the internet, where it gets dissected out of context, which spoils it for everyone."
In July 2011, Lindelof said that the film would rely upon practical effects, and would use CGI generally for on-set pre-visualization of external space visuals. Scott said that "you can pretty much do anything you want" with digital technology, and, "Doug Trumbull once said to me If you can do it live, do it live. That was 29 years ago. Even though we have remarkable digital capabilities I still say do it live. Its cheaper." Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski convinced Scott that it would be possible to film in 3D with the same ease and efficiency of 2D filming. 3D company 3ality Technica provided some of the rigs and equipment to facilitate 3D filming, and trained the films crew in their proper operation. According to Scott, the decision to film in 3D added $10 million to the films budget. Since 3D films need high lighting levels on set, the hallmark dark and shadowy atmosphere of the Alien films was added in post-production using color grading processes, and the 3D equipment was based on post- Avatar technology.
4.3. Production Principal photography
Principal photography began on March 21, 2011, lasted 82 days, and had an estimated $120–130 million budget. Filming began at Shepperton Studios and Pinewood Studios in England. Scott used eight sound stages for filming, including the 007 Stage. Studio space was limited and the crew had to make five stages work for approximately 16 sets, and increased the size of the 007 stage by over 30%.
Exterior shots of the alien world were shot in Iceland, where filming occurred for two weeks. It commenced on July 11, 2011, at the base of Hekla, an active volcano in southern Iceland. Speaking about working at the volcano, Scott said, "If one is afraid of nature in this profession then it would be best to find a different job". Filming also took place at Dettifoss, one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. The Iceland shoot involved 160 Icelandic crew members and over 200 imported crew. Scott said that the filming in Iceland comprised approximately fifteen minutes of footage for the film, and that the area represented the beginning of time. Morocco had been chosen as a location for these scenes, but the 2010 Arab Spring protests forced the change of venue. Alternatives including the Mojave Desert had been considered, but Scott explained that Iceland was ultimately chosen because "here it is so rough and Jurassic-like and that proved decisive".
In September 2011, filming moved to the Ciudad de la Luz audiovisual complex in Alicante, Spain. Shooting areas included the complexs large water tank, and a nearby beach. The complex was booked from August 22, 2011, through to December 10, 2011, and set construction occurred from August until late September. Approximately 250 people worked on the three-month-long Spain shoot, generating over €1 million in the local economy. Filming also took place in the Wadi Rum valley in Jordan.
Scott avoided using green screens unless necessary. Instead, he used various items so the actors would know where they should be looking in any particular scene on the practical sets where CGI elements would be inserted in post-production. Rapace said that green screens were used fewer than six times during filming. The production used five 3ality Technical Atom 3D rigs, four of which were configured with Red Epic 3D cameras set on camera dollies and tripods, which were continuously in use during filming. The fifth rig used an Epic camera as a steadicam, which was used only occasionally.
4.4. Production Post-production
Scott used the 3D footage to increase the illusion of depth. Despite this being his first 3D film he found the process easy. He said, "You can literally twiddle a knob and the depth will increase", and, "the trick is not to overdo it". In December 2011, Rapace undertook additional dialogue recordings for the film. Additional pick-up scenes were filmed during January 2012, including a one-day shoot on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and a new scene shot at a cave in the Scottish mountains. For dark scenes, the film was color graded to specifically compensate for the light loss of 3D glasses, to ensure the image was comparable to the 2D version.
In July 2011, Scott said that he was filming Prometheus with both adult-oriented R and more accessible PG-13 film ratings in mind, allowing the more adult content to be cut if necessary without harming the overall presentation. Scott said he had a responsibility to 20th Century Fox to be able to present a PG-13 cut of the film if the studio demanded, allowing it to be viewed by a wider potential audience. When asked about the rating, Scott said, "the question is, do you go for the PG-13, or do you go for what it should be, which is R? Financially it makes quite a difference. essentially its kinda R. its not just about blood, its about ideas that are very stressful." Scott also said that, regardless of rating, he would present the most aggressive cut of the film he could, while Rothman said that Scott would not be forced to compromise the films quality to avoid an R-rating. On May 7, 2012, Fox confirmed that the film had received an R-rating and would be released without any cuts being made. According to Scott, the scene of Shaw surgically removing her alien offspring was the significant cause of the restrictive rating, and it was suggested that removing the scene entirely would be the only way to gain a lower one. A fight scene between Shaw and the Engineer was shortened because Scott decided that Shaw directly wounding the Engineer diminished his role. Scott concluded work on the film in March 2012.
4.5. Production Music
Marc Streitenfeld, who had worked with Scott on earlier projects, composed the musical score for Prometheus. It took just over a week to record with a 90-piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London, England. Streitenfeld began writing ideas for the score after reading the script before filming commenced. He used some unusual techniques to compose the score, and said, "I actually wrote out the sheet music backwards so the orchestra played it backwards and then I digitally flipped it. So youre hearing the score as its written, the same melody, but with a backwards sounding orchestra which gives it a kind of unusual, unsettling sound." The Prometheus Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album was released on iTunes on May 15, 2012, and on CD on June 4, 2012. It features 23 tracks by Streitenfeld and two supplemental tracks by Harry Gregson-Williams. Frederic Chopin s "Raindrop prelude" 1838 is also featured in the film.
Production designer Arthur Max led the films design staff. His art team were tasked with deconstructing the art and visuals of Alien, and reverse-designing them for the chronologically earlier setting of Prometheus. Influence was drawn from the work of Alien creature designer H. R. Giger, and designers Ron Cobb and Chris Foss, including their designs for that film which Scott had been unable to develop at the time.
For the crews space suits, Scott was inspired to include spherical glass helmets after reading a story in Steve Jobs biography about building an office out of Gorilla Glass. Scott said, "If Im in 2083 and Im going into space, why would I design a helmet that has blind spots. What I want is something where I have 360 mind just multiplexes in that way". The Orrery was one of the most complex visual effects, contained 80–100 million polygons, and took several weeks to render as a single, complete shot.
Prometheus marketing campaign began on July 21, 2011 at the San Diego Comic-Con International, where images and footage from the film were presented by Lindelof and Theron; Scott and Rapace participated via satellite contribution. A segment of the footage showed Theron performing naked push-ups, which attracted much attention. A teaser poster was released on December 14, 2011, with the tagline, "The search for our beginning could lead to our end." A bootleg recording of an incomplete trailer was leaked online on November 27, 2011, but was quickly taken down by Fox. The trailer was released on December 22, 2011.
On March 17, 2012, Scott, in partnership with AMC Theatres, hosted the premiere of the first full Prometheus trailer at the AMC Downtown Disney during WonderCon in Anaheim, California. The event was streamed live via Facebook, Twitter, and the AMC Theatre website, and the trailer was posted on AMCs YouTube channel immediately after its debut. Reactions to the trailer from WonderCon attendees, and on Twitter, were generally positive, and it received nearly three million views in the three days following its release. On April 10, 2012, media outlets were shown a 13-minute montage of scenes in 3D from the films opening at the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square, London. The screening, and in particular the 3D visuals and the performances of Fassbender, Rapace, Theron, and Elba, was well received.
On April 29, 2012, the international launch trailer debuted in the United Kingdom on Channel 4 during the first advertisement break of the TV show Homeland. Viewers were encouraged to share their opinions about the trailer on Twitter, some of which were then shared in a live broadcast during a later break. This was the first time that viewers tweets were used in a broadcast advertisement. A competition, offering viewers a chance to win tickets to the film whenever the social platform Zeebox detected the advertisement airing, was launched on that site. On May 8, 2012, the advertisement became the subject of an investigation by the British broadcasting regulatory body Ofcom for allegedly breaching broadcast rules when a voiceover encouraged viewers to book tickets during the advertisement with the Channel 4 logo onscreen. The broadcast potentially broke a ruling that advertising and teleshopping must be clearly distinguishable from editorial content.
Although marketers typically avoid promoting adult-oriented films to reach a broader demographic, the film attracted several promotional partners including Coors, Amazon, and Verizon FiOS, which were estimated to have spent $30 million in marketing support. Amazon directed interested users to purchase tickets through Fandango, and placed promotional material in products shipped to customers; this was the first time that Amazon had allowed such marketing by an external company. The premiere in London was streamed live via the films website and the Verizon FiOS Facebook page. The event was facilitated by BumeBox, which took audience questions from social sites and gave them to reporters to ask at the event. The National Entertainment Collectibles Association NECA released a series of Prometheus action figures in September 2012. A book, Prometheus: The Art of the Film, containing production art and behind-the-scenes photographs, was released on June 12, 2012.
6.1. Marketing Viral campaign
A viral marketing campaign began on February 28, 2012, with the release of a video featuring a speech by Pearce, in character as Peter Weyland, about his vision for the future. Set in 2023, the TED 2023 video presents a futuristic vision of a TED conference, an annual technology and design event held in Long Beach, California. The segment was conceived and designed by Scott and Lindelof, and directed by Scotts son, Luke. The production was made in collaboration with, and made available through TED because Lindelof wanted to introduce new audiences to the conference itself. Lindelof said that the scene takes place in a futuristic stadium because "a guy like Peter Weyland - whose ego is just massive, and the ideas that hes advancing are nothing short of hubris - that hed basically say to TED, If you want me to give a talk, Im giving it in Wembley Stadium.
TED community director Tom Rielly helped the films producers gain approval for the use of the TED brand, which had not previously been used for promotional purposes. Rielly was involved in designing the 2023 conference, and said that the association generated millions of unique visits to the TED website. The videos release was accompanied by a fictional TED blog about the 2023 conference and a tie-in website for the fictional Weyland Corporation. On March 6, 2012, the Weyland website was updated to allow visitors to invest in the company as part of a game, which would reveal new Prometheus media.
During the 2012 WonderCon, attendees at the films panel were given Weyland Corporation business cards that directed them to a website and telephone number. After calling the number, the caller was sent a text message from Weyland Corporation that linked them to a video that was presented as an advertisement for the "David 8" android, narrated by Fassbender. An extended version of the video, released on April 17, 2012, lists the androids features, including its ability to seamlessly replicate human emotions without the restrictions of ethics or distress. A full page "David 8" advertisement was placed in The Wall Street Journal ; a Twitter account operated by a David8, that allowed Twitter users to ask the character questions, was included. A partnership with Verizon FiOS was launched, offering a virtual tour of the Prometheus spaceship. Another video, "Quiet Eye", starring Rapace as Shaw, was released on May 16, 2012, and debuted on the Verizon FIOS Facebook page. In a telephone call monitored by Yutani, a fictional company from the Alien series, Shaw requests Weylands aid to seek out alien life. In France, the Saint-Martin ghost train station was converted to resemble alien architecture from the film, and was visible to passing commuters. The campaign continued after the films release with a website that was listed during the films end credits. The site referenced the philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche, and featured a video of Weyland, who quotes from the book. Another video followed in September 2012, featuring Elbas Captain Janek preparing for a mission.
At the May 2012 Digital Hollywood conference, Lindelof said that the videos originated from the question of the films status as an Alien prequel. It was decided that creating videos with the films stars would generate more interest than any commentary about its connection to the Alien films. He also said that the videos needed to be cool enough to justify their existence, but not so important that their absence from the final film would be an issue for audiences.
The premiere of Prometheus took place on May 31, 2012, at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square, London. The film was released in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2012, and in North America on June 8, 2012. It was simultaneously released in IMAX theaters and in 3D, and it is encoded for D-Box motion seats that provide physical feedback to the audience during the film.
7.1. Release Pre-release
In the United Kingdom, approximately £1 million $1.6 million of tickets were pre-sold. 18.827 tickets pre-sold for the London IMAX, the largest IMAX screen in the country, which broke the theater records for the highest grossing week of pre-sales with £293.312 $474.687, and the highest grossing first day of pre-sales with £137.000 $221.717. It extended this record to 30.000 tickets sold and £470.977 $737.588 earned, and become the most pre-booked film at that theater, exceeding the performance of high-profile IMAX releases including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and Avatar.
In North America, audience tracking showed high interest among males, but low among females. In the week before the films release, predictions were conflicted on whether Prometheus or Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted the first family-oriented film of the summer, which were released simultaneously, would reach number 1 for that weekend. On June 6, 2012, Fandango reported that with 42% of daily sales Prometheus was beating Madagascar 3. The online tracking for Prometheus surged with each additional promotional footage. Prometheus was predicted to earn approximately $30 million, and Madagascar 3 around $45 million. As the weekend approached, tracking suggested a $55 million debut for Madagascar 3 and $50–$55 million for Prometheus. Prometheus was disadvantaged by Madagascar opening in 264 more theaters and its adult rating.
8.1. Reception Box office
Prometheus was considered a financial success overall. After a strong start in North America, the film failed to meet the studios expectations, but it continued to perform strongly in other territories until the end of its theatrical run. Prometheus earned $126.4 million 31.4% in North America and $276.9 million 68.6% elsewhere for a worldwide total of $403.4 million, making it the 18th highest-grossing film of 2012, and at its peak it was the 155th highest-grossing film worldwide unadjusted for inflation.
Prometheus was released in 15 markets between May 30 and June 1, 2012 - about a week before its North American release. The earlier start in these countries was timed to avoid competition with the start of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship the following week. On its opening day, which varies depending on the country, it earned $3.39 million in the United Kingdom, $2.2 million in Russia, and $1.5 million in France. The film earned $34.8 million during its opening weekend from 4.695 theaters in 15 markets, and debuted at number 1 in 14 of them, with an average of $7.461 per theater. Its overall rank for the weekend was third behind Men in Black 3 and Snow White & the Huntsman. Its opening weekends in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta $10.1 million, Russia and the CIS $9.80 million, and France and the Maghreb region $6.68 million represented its largest takings. By June 8, the film had opened in a total of 50 markets, and was also successful during its opening weekends in Australia $7.2 million and South Korea $4.2 million. During its late August opening in Japan, the film earned $9.6 million.
In North America, Prometheus earned $3.561 million in midnight showings at 1.368 theaters, including $1.03 million from 294 IMAX theaters, and went on to earn $21.4 million through its opening day. During its opening weekend, the film earned $51.05 million from 3.396 theaters - an average of $15.032 per theater - ranking second behind Madagascar 3 $60.4 million, which made it the second largest opening for a film directed by Scott behind his 2001 thriller Hannibal, the third largest second-place opening, the ninth largest opening for a prequel, and the tenth largest for an R-rated film. The largest demographic of the opening weekend audience was over the age of 25 64% and male 57%. 3D showings accounted for 54% of ticket sales, while IMAX contributed 18% - the majority of which was accounted for in the 3D figure. The film closed on September 20, 2012 after 105 days 15 weeks in release with a total gross of $126.4 million. The figure made it the number 43 highest-grossing film to never finish a week as the number 1 film.
8.2. Reception Critical reception
The film has a 73% approval rating from 300 critics with an average rating of 6.96/10 on the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, which says, "Ridley Scotts ambitious quasi-prequel to Alien may not answer all of its big questions, but its redeemed by its haunting visual grandeur and compelling performances - particularly Michael Fassbender as a fastidious android." Metacritic provides a score of 65 out of 100 from 42 critics, which indicates "generally favorable" reviews. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B" on a scale of A+ to F, while audience members under 25 rated it the highest at A-. Reviews frequently praised both the films visual aesthetic and design, and Fassbenders performance as the android David received almost universal acclaim. However the plot drew a mixed response from critics, who criticized plot elements that remained unresolved or were predictable, tempered by appreciation for the action and horror set-pieces.
The Hollywood Reporter s Todd McCarthy called the films visuals vivid, stunning, and magnificent on a technical level, and praised the performances of Fassbender, Rapace, and Theron, but wrote that the film "caters too much to imagined audience expectations when a little more adventurous thought might have taken it to some excitingly unsuspected destinations." Time Out London s Tom Huddleston wrote that "the photography is pleasingly crisp and the design is stunning", but that, "he script feels flat. the dialogue is lazy, while the plot, though crammed with striking concepts, simply fails to coalesce. After an enjoyable setup, the central act is baggy, confusing and, in places, slightly boring, while the climax has flash and fireworks but no real momentum." Emanuel Levy wrote that the writing was his only complaint about the film, which, he said, "is not only uneven, but promises more original ideas and thematic provocations than it can possibly deliver." Roger Ebert gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, labeling it a "seamless blend of story, special effects and pitch-perfect casting, filmed in sane, effective 3-D that doesnt distract." Ebert wrote that Rapaces performance "continues here the tradition of awesome feminine strength begun by Sigourney Weaver in Alien ", but considered that Elbas Janek has the most interesting character evolution. Ebert thought that the plot raises questions and does not answer them, which made the film intriguing and parallel to the "classic tradition of golden age sci-fi". He later went on to name it as one of the best films of 2012.
Total Film s Jonathan Crocker wrote that the plot successfully integrated itself with Alien s mythology while offering its own original ideas. Entertainment Weekly s Lisa Schwarzbaum was positive towards the cast, particularly Rapace, and the cinematography. Salon s Andrew OHehir wrote that the film was "somber, spectacular and ponderous", but that the "portentousness and grandiosity. is at once the films great strength and great weakness" and criticized the characters for lacking common sense. OHehir also mentioned Wolskis cinematography and Maxs production design. The New York Times A. O. Scott criticized the story as weak, and argued that the narratives twists and reversals undermine its "lofty, mindblowing potential". He said the film has no revelations, just "bits of momentarily surprising information bereft of meaning or resonance", and that Rapace is a "fine heroine, vulnerable and determined".
Variety film critic Justin Chang wrote that the films narrative structure was unable to handle the philosophical dimension of the plot, and that Prometheus was lazily deferring key plot points under the presumption that a sequel would be made. The Guardians Peter Bradshaw wrote that Prometheus was "more grandiose, more elaborate - but less interesting" than Alien, and lacked the latters "central killer punch". Ian Nathan of Empire magazine was unimpressed by Rapace - whom he described as an unconvincing lead - and said that with "a lack of suspense, threadbare characters, and a very poor script, the stunning visuals, gloopy madness, and sterling Fassbenderiness cant prevent Prometheus feeling like Alien s poor relation." The Village Voice s Nick Pinkerton wrote that the film is "prone to shallow ponderousness", and that Scott "can still mimic the appearance of an epic, noble, important movie - but the appearance is all." He criticized Rapace and Marshall-Green for failing to instill interest in their characters relationship, but added: "there are a few set pieces here that will find a place of honor among aficionados of body horror and all things clammy and viscous".
James Cameron said: "I enjoyed Prometheus. I thought it was great. I thought it was Ridley returning to science fiction with gusto, with great tactical performance, beautiful photography, great native 3D. There might have been a few things that I would have done differently, but thats not the point - you could say that about any movie."
9. Home media
In North America, Prometheus DVD and Blu-ray disc releases were listed for pre-order in partnership with Amazon on June 1, 2012, a week before the film was released in theaters. A limited number of cinema tickets for the film were offered as a pre-order incentive. In June 2012, FX obtained the rights to the films network television premiere. On September 7, 2012, Fox announced that Prometheus would be the launch title of its new digital distribution initiative "Digital HD". The film was released on September 18, 2012, three weeks prior to its DVD, Blu-ray disc and Video on demand VOD release, for downloading and streaming through platforms including Amazon, iTunes, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live in over 50 countries. The film was released on Blu-ray disc and DVD on October 9, 2012. The Blu-ray disc edition of the film was released in a 2-disc set and a 4-disc "Collectors Edition". Both versions contain the theatrical cut of Prometheus, commentary by Scott, Lindelof and Spaihts, a DVD and digital copy of the film, alternate and deleted scenes, and other features. Additionally, the Collectors Edition contains the 3D version of the film and approximately 7 hours of supplemental features including a documentary on the films production. On October 8, 2012, it was reported that Fox had requested an extended version of the film for home media, but Scott refused to edit cut scenes back into the theatrical version of the film, which he considered his directors cut. During its first week of sale in the United Kingdom, Prometheus was the number 1 selling film on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, outselling its nearest competitor by a factor of three. An Ultra HD Blu-ray version was released in September 2017.
Scott discussed a continuation of the series in March 2012, saying that Prometheus leaves many questions unanswered and that these could be answered in a sequel. In June 2012, Lindelof said that while plot elements were deliberately left unresolved so that they could be answered in a sequel, he and Scott had thoroughly discussed what should be resolved so that Prometheus could stand alone, as a sequel was not guaranteed. By August 2012, a sequel was announced to be in development for release no earlier than 2014. Lindelof chose not to work on the new film, citing other commitments.
Titled Alien: Covenant, the sequel premiered in London, England on May 4, 2017, and was released in the United States on May 19, 2017. Set eleven years after the events of Prometheus, Alien: Covenant s story follows the crew of the Covenant space ship who land on an uncharted and seemingly uninhabited planet. The film stars Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Callie Hernandez, Alex England and Billy Crudup. On release, Alien: Covenant earned a worldwide box office gross of $240.7 million compared to Prometheus $403.4 million, and received generally favorable reviews. A sequel to Alien: Covenant is in development. In 2013, a comic book series was announced by Dark Horse Comics that serves as a spin-off to Prometheus. The series, titled Fire and Stone, is an Alien vs. Predator crossover featuring content exclusive to Prometheus. The first issue of Fire and Stone was released on September 10, 2014.