Bleeding Cool has a quote from Andrew Stanton talking about why John Carter of Mars became the exceptionally generic-sounding John Carter:
Here’s the real truth of it. I’d already changed it from A Princess Of Mars to John Carter Of Mars. I don’t like to get fixated on it, but I changed Princess Of Mars… because not a single boy would go.
And then the other truth is, no girl would go to see John Carter Of Mars. So I said, “I don’t won’t to do anything out of fear, I hate doing things out of fear, but I can’t ignore that truth.”
All the time we were making this big character story which just so happens to be in this big, spectacular new environment. But it’s not about the spectacle, it’s about the investment. I thought, I’ve really worked hard to make all of this an origin story. It’s about a guy becoming John Carter. So I’m not misrepresenting what this movie is, it’s John Carter.
Mars is going to stick on any other film in the series. But by then, it won’t have a stigma to it.
To some extent I agree with his thoughts on A Princess of Mars. A title like that used to mean high adventure, but now it sounds like an Olsen Twins movie. But what about the idea that women wouldn't want to go see a movie with Mars in the title?
I find that exceptionally hard to believe, especially in a world where Star Wars and The Dark Knight and ET: The Extra-Terrestrial are all top ten movies of all time. This is a movie landscape that has been dominated by genre films for the last thirty years, and women show up to them with the same frequency as men.
In general I find this attitude to be retrograde and reductive. Women and men both like GOOD movies that are marketed well. What is it about the title of Avatar that turned it into such a huge hit? I still meet people who can't even pronounce the damn thing right.
Let's stop pretending that women only want to see movies with Wedding in the title. Why are we selling 51% of the population short? Make (and sell) a good movie, and they will come.