"It was a phenomenal opening," said BoxOfficeGuru.com's Gitesh Pandya. "It proves that moviegoers have no problem spending more for 3-D movies."
Ticket prices for 3-D films like "Alice" can cost up to $4 more than traditional films. The film was also shown in IMAX, which can be even more expensive.
According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, about $80 million, or 70%, of the opening haul for "Alice" was due to 3-D ticket sales. In IMAX, "Alice" brought in a record $11.9 million.
Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo, said the combined premium from 3-D and IMAX sales for "Alice" appear to have added about $22 million to the film's gross.
"There were a number of factors working in favor of 'Alice in Wonderland'," Gray said, including the star power of Depp and Burton, as well as Disney's aggressive marketing of the film.
"It was a combination of appealing material and a strong marketing campaign," he said. "You could also say that there was a halo-effect from the 'Avatar' run."
While "Alice" surpassed "Avatar" in its opening weekend, analysts do not expect the Disney film's overall performance to top that of James Cameron's epic, which brought in a total of $2.5 billion to become highest grossing movie ever.
"It's going to be a more front-loaded film than 'Avatar,'" Pandya said. "It won't have the same kind of legs."
To be sure, few films have enjoyed the staying power of "Avatar." The 20th Century Fox film opened just before Christmas and benefited from a slew of holiday weekends during its extraordinary 3-month run.
But the success of "Alice" has raised expectations for a host of other highly anticipated 3-D films due out this year, including Warner Brothers' "Clash of the Titans," which comes out next month.
Other 3-D films in the works will capitalize on well known franchises, such as Harry Potter, Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Jumping the shark
Pandya said he expects most of this year's 3-D features to do well. However, he warned that the challenge for the movie industry will be to take advantage of the current buzz surrounding 3-D films without overdoing it.
"Hollywood is jumping on 3-D bandwagon," Gray said. "There's a high probability they'll run it into the ground."
He said much of the current interest in 3-D movies is due to the novelty of the technology, adding that it's too soon to tell if that interest will last much longer. For the time being, however, it appears that movie-goers are not deterred by higher prices for 3-D films.
"Right now, people seem willing to pay the premium for an enhanced movie going experience," Gray said.