There's how much profit it made for the studio then there's also how successful it was in terms of box office. Two separate things.
Aliens was more profitable but that's because it had a low budget. Its returns weren't that high, especially in international box office numbers.
If Aliens cost $1 and made $100 then it would have made 100x its production budget. Doesn't matter, what's important is how many people actually went to see it, not the profit for the studio.
Prometheus needed to make back a minimum of x2.5 times it's production budget, possibly even a lot more depending on the marketing costs just to break even. At the very best it's actual profit would have been around $70 - 80 Million 2012 dollars. And that's an extremely optimistic guesstimate. When you adjust Alien and Aliens box office totals and deduct the production and marketing expenses you'll find that they still made a lot more money than Prometheus.
Doesn't matter, what's important is how many people actually went to see it, not the profit for the studio.
The fact that a lot of people went to see Prometheus can mostly be attributed to it's huge marketing budget. The more you spend on hyping a film the more butts you'll get on theater seats irrespective of the film's actual quality. In some cases word-of-mouth can help a film that is actually very good but considering Prometheus' weekly box office drop-offs that wasn't the case. By contrast, word of mouth likely helped Alien and Aliens a lot considering their performance versus their relatively minuscule (in comparison the Prometheus) marketing budget.
It wouldn't get the charge of 'fan fiction' if it was its own beast, but it's clearly not. It doesn't stand on its own.
The director himself stated he is a massive fan of Aliens. The concept art has shown Queens, dropships and pulse rifles from Aliens.
Neill himself holding his own prop pulse rifle.
How much more fanboy can you get.
His concept art also showed the Derelict. He'd also spoken about how much Alien: Isolation had effected his work on the project. He's also said he's a huge fan of Alien, of the psycho-sexual aspects of the series.
And besides, Alien Resurrection had a Queen, AvP had a Queen - that didn't equate to Aliens 2.0. The return of Alien equipment is visual continuity too - something people have an issue with Prometheus for.
Blomkamp is on record as saying that Alien
is his favourite film in the franchise. But considering that he was planning to do a sequel to Aliens at the behest of Sigourney Weaver (what a fangirl!) it would make sense to have pulse rifles, dropships, and Queens in it, no?
Did all these nutters on here also wail and gnash their teeth when they found out that the new Star Wars films would also include lightsabers, X-Wings and Tie-Fighters? It boggles the mind.