PROMETHEUS: A Financial Analysis

by Darwin on June 14, 2012

I saw Prometheus last night after much build-up from an incredible viral ad campaign and without revealing any spoilers at the outset, based on information that could already be gleamed from the trailers or non-spoiler in nature, here are some financial implications of the movie that I couldn’t help but share with you.  Be warned, at the bottom, I do include a spoiler but there’s a warning header to stop you from reading that one in the event you plan on seeing the movie.

  • $ Trillion Experiment – As you’re probably aware, humankind takes an exploratory ship several light years away to visit a distant planet based on what is perceived as an “invitation”.  If you saw any of the viral campaigns, Weyland paid for it and it is claimed to be a $1 Trillion endeavor in the movie.  That sounds like a ton of money, about as much as the US deficit every couple months (eek!).  But I digress.  Anyway, the year is 2089 though, so a trillion dollars doesn’t go nearly as far as it does today.  Using some back of the napkin calculations, if I assume 3% inflation over 77 years, that trillion dollars is really just $102 Billion.  Well, that’s less than a typical European bailout or the first year of a war for us.  So, when Charlize states with such drama that it’s a Trillion dollar ship, it sounds a lot more impressive, but $102 Billion isn’t a very large number for something so astounding.  Either technology has evolved so much by then that it’s actually not that big a deal to undertake interstellar travel or the movie vastly underestimated what it would truly cost to go there.
  • “Credits” – There are a few scenes where the crew are making wagers and joking around about 100 credits for this, 100 credits for that.  You never actually hear what a credit is equivalent to in terms of US Dollars, but because the $1Trillion number is thrown out there earlier in the movie, you know that the US Dollar is still a formidable currency and has not been made obsolete by credits.  I wonder if this is some sort of “space currency” if bringing legal tender on board is banned for various reasons, or if “credits” are some sort of global currency, almost like ounces of gold or even bitcoin currency equivalent.


Spoiler Alert 

  • Stop Reading if You Don’t Want to be Spoiled….










OK, You Asked for IT! – Cost of the Grand Experiment

What Did the Grand Experience Cost the Engineers?  If you really got into the backstory and perhaps checked out some discussion boards following the movie, the plot is much, much deeper than just some crazy aliens attacking space explorers.  Evidently, the entire human race is nothing but an experiment, subhumans of a sort, fashioned by “the Engineers” who share our DNA but are evidently much more advanced (and those who we should call our creators), those 8′ tall humanoid creatures in the opening and ending of the film.  Why were we created?  And why were they about to go destroy us 2000 years ago with the terrible cargo?  Apparently, some feel our planet was seeded for no reason other than to act as hosts for the ultimate biological weapon – the aliens that pop out of your chest from the original Alien (which, evidently, is supposed to have taken place a few decades AFTER Prometheus).  Based on the murals and worshiping of these aliens seen throughout the movie (called a xeno on discussion boards), it’s evident that they were created as both a bio-weapon and an admired creation or even pet of some sort.  And the Engineers were en route to deliver them to earth, which surely would have wiped out all life on the planet, but for what reason?  Pure sport?  And at what cost?  When considering the Prometheus endeavor was a Trillion dollars, imagine terraforming and seeding a planet across millennia, only to destroy what you’ve created, what did that cost? (in terms of Engineer currency)?

OK – Now You REALLY Asked For It

How Much Is the Cost of Immortality? – This will REALLY blow the movie if you haven’t seen it already.  Aside from mentioning the cost of the ship earlier in the post, what is the real “agenda” for the trip?  It’s not just pure human curiosity.  It’s because Weyland is on his death bed.  He’s over 90.  And he knows that if these beings created us, they likely have the potential to extend his life, possibly permanently.  Aside from living forever, he would also become a god of sorts, just as they are our gods in the movie.  See, they created human life and he created David, the cyborg.  So, evidently, he paid over $1 Trillion for the potential that he may strike the jackpot.  Heck, if you had the money, would you?  I do question whether this was money he acquired himself or this was corporate money from Weyland Industries that would not only benefit him, but would also likely bring back advanced technology to the human race that his company would benefit from.  Regardless, I guess the question is, if you could live forever, would you spend the GDP of entire countries to chase that dream?


Interested in Your Thoughts on the Movie in General, and of Course, Financials!



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos June 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm

OK, I stopped reading after the second warning. Ending preserved.
Consider this: what if it’s a trillion of NEW dollars? After the Italian lira degraded down to almost a couple thousand per US dollar in the eighties and nineties, there was much talk about creating a new, “heavy” lira. Just chop of a few zeros off the end…


Darwin June 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Entirely plausible!


ParatrooperJJ June 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

In 2089 what event happened almost 2000 years ago……??


Darwin June 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm

There’s the scene where they find the dead “Engineer” and carbon date his body. It says 2000 years old. So, shortly after Christ, the Engineers were en route to Earth to destroy it with aliens on board their ship. Some speculate that this is punishment for pinning Christ to the cross (who was engineered by them), but the movie didn’t go that far. It is left as an open question why the Engineers were set to destroy earth 2000 years back, but they failed when their bio weapon turned on them.


ParatrooperJJ June 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Yeah that was really my point, the whold “A.D.” thing.


Darwin June 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I’m glad they didn’t go there for the movie, woulda been kinda silly, like the Jesus alien? (I guess no more unbelievable than the story to begin with, but an added layer).


Ivan Hurtado June 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

Or could it be that they didn’t expect a similar life form -to them- would develope in that planet and decided to exterminate it before they would start making questions and reaching for the stars.


Darwin June 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Yeah, there’s been a whole ton of analysis on why they sought to destroy man, and also why the Engineer freaked out at the end and starting wiping people out when he got a chance. Hypotheses range from him finishing off his mission to the arrogance of man trying to create new beings in their image (and droid).


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