Marvel certainly noticed the power of female moviegoers, as evidenced by the marketing for Thor, Captain America, and even the Iron Man series featuring the male stars scantily clad. A shirtless Chris Evans or Hemsworth wasn't needed to convince comic book fans that they were right for the role, but certainly helped create some overlap with traditionally more 'female' genres of film.
We've long asked how much more money Marvel's 'Phase One' could have generated had the films been actively marketed to women, but the potential is undeniable.
For those women who just couldn't identify with Twilight's Bella Swan (or for mothers who did little to encourage the type of submissive role taken by the character among more powerful figures) the answer to their troubles came in the form of The Hunger Games' heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Stronger than her male competition and refusing to bend her will - unless it's the intelligent thing to do - Katniss was the kind of exceptional female role model that many were more than happy to get behind. As for the marketing dollars, well, keep your eyes peeled for how many bows and braids will pop up this Halloween.
It may surprise some only familiar with the Halo games, but the sci-fi franchise has both of the above factors, capable of fueling successful marketing to men and women of all age groups. We don't just mean the wealth of fifteen year old, genetically-enhanced, musclebound recruits whose bodies more closely resemble twenty-somethings carved from granite (ahem), but the wealth of strong female characters as well. Take Linda, the stoic, humble, and most deadly sniper in the series as a whole, or Kelly, the fastest and most confident Spartan II to date. Don't even get us started on Cortana.
A poster for Halo: The Movie would be enough to pull in the gaming crowd, regardless of how much the story was reworked to stand apart from the game series, but the hint of young love between John and Linda, or a collection of young male 'heartthrobs' to fill the roles of Fred, Sam, Kurt, and even John himself would pull in a younger female audience as well. The overall story and performances will be the most significant ingredient for success, but the potential audience needs to be big enough for Microsoft and DreamWorks to take the plunge.
Budding romance, teenage characters carrying a plot built on war and alien invaders, and violence being committed by young soldiers against young soldiers are all going to be on display with Forward Unto Dawn. If the cast and crew can pull it off, then the possibility of it being done on an even grander scale, with a much larger budget is higher than ever. That's all speculation at this point, but don't think Microsoft isn't looking at the big picture.
Do you think Microsoft is making a wise move by putting up their own money instead of waiting for an outside studio to buy in? Is a film franchise based around the extended fiction, and not the games themselves a good way of keeping both newcomers and fans on the edge of their seats, or the wrong way to go? Sound off in the comments.
For now, we'll look forward to seeing what 343 has in mind for extending the Halo name into other media, be it film or television. Who knows: if some of the actors manage to shine, we may be seeing their faces again.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn will be released via Halo Waypoint and Machinima starting October 5, leading up to the launch of Halo 4 on November 6, 2012.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.