At first the word was positive: Even if Rastar Films/Columbia Pictures' big summer release, "Annie," wasn't an artistic landmark, it was reportedly done well enough to satisfy people and make tons of money. "I've never felt more confident about a picture," said Columbia President Frank Price. And then "Annie" came to Los Angeles for its major advance screening one week ago, and it was the kind of night when many of those in attendance probably wished they'd gone to the Dodger game instead. On a temperate, comfortable evening, the theater was, for some reason, hot and stifling. It would have been bad under normal circumstances; it was murder during a two-hour film. "People were dying in there," said one member of the audience. "Nobody could believe how hot it was, and nobody could believe how absolutely inept the movie was. It's tedious, it's awful, and you should have heard all the moaning and groaning on the sidewalk in front of the theater." All this for a supposedly happy musical comedy directed by full-fledged legend John Huston and bankrolled at what the studio says is $40 million (although insiders say the actual cost was more like $50 million). Still, it's hardly time to write off the investment, since NBC and Home Box Office have paid $10 million each for rights to show the film, and since producer James Nederlander says the Broadway show on which the movie is based will shortly become "the most profitable musical of all time." And besides, maybe it was just the heat: "I'm real cynical, and I hate musicals," said another local who has seen the film under more hospitable circumstances, "but the kids are just gonna love it, the people in Iowa are gonna flip, and I have to admit I even thought it was charming."