Joel Edgerton has said he would change Boy Erased’s release strategy if he could.

Speaking to IndieWire in New York to promote the release of his new Timothée Chalamet-starring Netflix film The King, the director pondered if Boy Erased would have been better suited to a streaming platform from the start.

“We had a really interesting debate about which way to go. Focus [Features] had this incredible track record with putting out these LGBTQ films like Brokeback and Milk, so I felt we were in the right hands,” he recalled.

“We wanted to create a face-to-face scenario where we’d have face time with audiences and have Q&As and generate discussions. To me, it felt like that was the right way to go.”

Boy Erased – which is based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir – starred Oscar-nominated actor Lucas Hedges as a teenager who’s sent to a gay conversion ‘therapy’ camp by his deeply religious parents, played by Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman.

After working with Netflix, Joel said he feels the film could have performed better – and reached a much wider audience with its important message – if it had been released straight to the streaming service.

“The moment you put something on a streaming platform, everybody in every household in all these countries can see it at the exact same time,” he continued.

“You don’t get that chatter – and this was sad for me – of, ‘When is this film coming to my country?’ or, ‘I have to drive five hours to see it’, or, ‘I just can’t afford the time and money’.

“I realised, ‘OK, that’s a good enough reason to put a movie as soon as you can on Netflix’, especially with Boy Erased.

“The pride that everybody felt with that film about the ability to help start conversations within families, change points of views, make them feel differently in their lives, made me wish we could’ve just dropped it everywhere rather than holding onto it.”

Related: Watch our interview with director Joel Edgerton