Prometheus ( prə-MEE-thee-əs) 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 Scott's 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 Spaihts's 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 film's 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 received praise for the aesthetic design and the acting, especially Fassbender's performance as the android David, while plot elements that remained unresolved or predictable were the main source of criticism. The film grossed over $403 million worldwide. A sequel, Alien: Covenant, was released in May 2017.