Walt Disney (DIS 1.55%) is rolling in 2023. Its latest victory lap is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. The third theatrical release for the popular Marvel franchise had a strong debut over the weekend.

The $114 million in ticket sales were shy of the $146 million opening that the previous Guardians film scored six years ago, but a stronger-than-expected $168 million internationally helped boost the total worldwide box office receipts to $282 million. By the time the film finishes its run, Disney will have put out four of the five highest-grossing films in the U.S. since November. 

Disney shares have risen 16% this year, more than double the market's nearly 8% return. The stock is still trading for less than half of its early 2021 peak, but momentum is on its side. 

You don't have to wait long for Disney's next big test. The media giant reports financial results for the fiscal second quarter this week. Let's take a look at what the market is expecting heading into the report that will be put out shortly after the market close on Wednesday afternoon.

As the world earns

Analysts are holding out for mixed results when Disney steps up with fresh numbers this week. Wall Street pros see revenue climbing 7.5% to $21.8 billion for the first three months of this calendar year. It would be the weakest year-over-year top-line growth for the House of Mouse in two years, but that's not a deal-breaker.

Disney is likely to post strong double-digit growth for its theme parks. Crowds have been strong at its gated attractions, and guests are flinching at higher price points as Disney tries to deal with rising wages and other input costs. There should be healthy growth for Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming business, even though the real concern there is if CEO Bob Iger can trim that segment's operating loss, which has clocked in north of $1 billion in back-to-back quarters. 

Disney's movie studio should also hold up better than it did a year earlier, but the legacy media business may continue to be a drag on performance. Consumption of traditional networks continues to wane, and the TV advertising market has yet to recover. 

The $0.93 a share that analysts are modeling on the bottom line would be a 14% decline. Iger was able to easily beat expectations on the bottom line three months ago in his first report since returning to the helm in November. Can he repeat the feat in what would be his first full quarter of putting in the work?

Iger plans to shave $5.5 billion in annual costs in the next two years. A whopping $3 billion in cuts will come from content, a move that the leading media stock hopes will turn Disney+ profitable by the end of fiscal 2024. There will also be layoffs, and while the restructuring has already started, we're not likely to see material bottom-line improvement until later this fiscal year, if not next year. 

Disney stock is beating the market this year, something that investors didn't see in 2021 or 2022. A strong report can keep Disney ahead of the market, even if the headline numbers themselves may not impress at first glance.