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.
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 film's release, predictions were conflicted on whether Prometheus or Madagascar 3: Europe's 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.
Prometheus was considered a financial success overall. After a strong start in North America, the film failed to meet the studio's expectations, but it continued to perform strongly in other territories until the end of its theatrical run. Prometheus earned $126,477,084 (31.4%) in North America and $276,877,385 (68.6%) elsewhere for a worldwide total of $403,354,469, making it the 15th highest grossing film of 2012, and the 159th 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.
The film garnered a 73% approval rating from 269 critics—an average rating of 6.9 out of 10—on the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, which said, "Ridley Scott's ambitious quasi-prequel to Alien may not answer all of its big questions, but it's 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, with audience members under 25 rating it the highest at A-. Reviews frequently praised both the film's visual aesthetic and design, and Fassbender's 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 film's 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, "[t]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 doesn't distract." Ebert wrote that Rapace's performance "continues here the tradition of awesome feminine strength begun by Sigourney Weaver in Alien", but considered that Elba's 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 O'Hehir wrote that the film was "somber, spectacular and ponderous," but that the "portentousness and grandiosity ... is at once the film's great strength and great weakness" and criticized the characters for lacking common sense. O'Hehir also mentioned Wolski's cinematography and Max's production design. The New York Times' A. O. Scott criticized the story as weak, and that the narrative's 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 film's 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 Guardian's Peter Bradshaw wrote that Prometheus was "more grandiose, more elaborate—but less interesting" than Alien, and lacked the latter's "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 can't 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 that's not the point—you could say that about any movie."
|2012||Golden Trailer Awards||Summer 2012 Blockbuster Trailer||Prometheus / "Not Alone", 20th Century Fox, Wild Card||Nominated|||
|Best Sound Editing||Prometheus, 20th Century Fox, Skip Film||Nominated|
|Key Art Awards||Digital||"Weyland Industries" website||Won|||
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards||Best Art Direction||Alex Cameron||Won|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society||Best Visual Effects||Richard Stammers, Charley Henley and Martin Hill||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Visual Effects||Richard Stammers, Charley Henley and Martin Hill||Nominated|||
|Sound (Editing and Mixing)||Victor Ray Ennis, Ann Scibelli, John Cucci and Mark P. Stoeckinger||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Breakout||Noomi Rapace||Nominated|||
|Choice Summer Movie – Action||Prometheus||Nominated|
|Choice Summer Movie Star – Female||Charlize Theron (also for Snow White & the Huntsman)||Nominated|
|2013||Academy Awards||Best Visual Effects||Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill||Nominated|||
|ADG Excellence in Production Design Award||Fantasy Film||Arthur Max||Nominated|||
|BAFTA Awards||Special Visual Effects||Richard Stammers, Charley Henley, Trevor Wood, Paul Butterworth||Nominated|||
|Critic's Choice Award||Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie||Prometheus||Nominated|||
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing — Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film||Prometheus||Nominated|||
|Visual Effects Society||Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture||Xavier Bourque, Sam Cole, Simone Riginelli, Denis Scolan for "Engineers & the Orrery"||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture||Julien Bolbach, Marco Genovesi, Martin Riedel, Marco Rolandi for "LV-233"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture||Paul Butterworth, Charley Henley, Allen Maris, Richard Stammers for Prometheus||Nominated|
|London Film Critics' Circle Awards||Supporting Actor of the Year||Michael Fassbender||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Science Fiction Film||Prometheus||Nominated|||
|Best Supporting Actor||Michael Fassbender||Nominated|
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 film's 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 "Collector's 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 Collector's Edition contains the 3D version of the film and approximately 7 hours of supplemental features including a documentary on the film's 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 director's 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.