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Alice's $1 Billion Consumer Products Tea Party

Alice in Wonderland
Source: Disney
Alice in Wonderland

"Alice in Wonderland"opens in theaters today, accompanied by Disney's most wide-ranging array of consumer products ever, chasing an unprecedented broad audience.

Tim Burton's 3-D "Alice" follows the classic character years after her first visit to Wonderland, so it makes sense that Disney would go after an older audience.

So now Disney has adult women in its cross hairs: in addition to the usual range of kids toys, games and apparel, it's licensing "Alice" for products for adults.

Disney's going grown-up and high end.

Fashion designer Sue Wong has designed a range of "Alice" inspired dresses which are selling for as much as $600 at Bloomingdales, Macys, and Saks.

These aren't costumes —they're sophisticated dresses that were inspired by the look of the movie. Disney has struck deals with a number of high-end designers. Jewelry Designer Tom Binns is selling $1,000 Alice-inspired necklaces. Stella McCartney also has created a high-end Alice-inspired jewelry line.

The media giant will benefit from a cut of these consumer products revenues, but Disney says that so few of the really high end products will be sold, it's not about the money.

Disney's consumer products chief Andy Mooney says it's really about creating a "halo" for the brand.

Sound fishy?

The media giant wants fashionable adults to think Disney and its brands are cool, not cheap or tacky. Inclusion in a fashion magazine and fashion-forward looks does just that.

Disney isn't forgetting the women who have more modest budgets. Retailer Hot Topic has an extensive line of clothes, purses and accessories inspired by the film. Some feature characters from the movie, but many are so subtle, you'd never guess they were Alice-inspired. The new lines from Urban Decay eye shadow and OPI nail polish were also inspired by Alice and are equally subtle. The retail displays feature the movie, but once you're wearing them, you'd never guess the connection.

Mooney tells us that he expects 'Alice' to yield a consumer products line that will last for a decade. How much is it worth this year? He wouldn't say, other than it's somewhere between $100 million and $1 billion. The better the movie does, the better these products will sell.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.