TV premieres of theatrical movies don't have the sizzle they once did, now that most films are seen previously on pay TV, but each network has a blockbuster or two among the films scheduled to air this season.
ABC's titles include the Oscar-winning "Kramer vs. Kramer"; "Coal Miner's Daughter"; "The China Syndrome"; "Star Trek--The Motion Picture"; "Melvin and Howard"; "American Gigolo"; and that colossal fiasco, Steven Spielberg's "1941."
CBS will show "Being There," the last Peter Sellers film; Neil Diamond's lachrymose, ego-tripping remake of "The Jazz Singer"; Robert De Niro in "Raging Bull"; Goldie Hawn in "Private Benjamin"; and Bette Midler in "The Rose."
NBC has slightly sanitized the already squeaky-clean "Blue Lagoon" and will also air the films "Dressed to Kill," Brian De Palma's lush thriller; "Seems Like Old Times" with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase; "On the Road Again" with Willie Nelson; and the notoriously catastrophic Dino De Laurentiis remake of "Hurricane."
"Star Wars," the most popular and profitable movie of all time, will make its pay-TV premiere probably early next year, although spokesmen for HBO and Showtime say they are sworn to secrecy about just when. The film is now being shown as a "pay-per-view" attraction (meaning subscribers must pay an extra fee to see it) on subscription TV services in Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities. As early as next fall, it will be shown to the rest of the world on CBS.
Other movies scheduled for HBO, Showtime and similar services this season include Dudley Moore as "Arthur"; Lawrence Kasdan's sexy "Body Heat"; grim urban dramas "Prince of the City" and "True Confessions"; and Burt Reynolds in the flop comedy "Paternity." HBO has a current exclusive booking of "Endless Love" and, sources indicate, will show "On Golden Pond" later in the season.