The Bourne Ultimatum is the unquestioned U.S. box office champ, delivering record-setting numbers.

The third in a series of spy thrillers starring Matt Damon took in $70.2 million last weekend, far surpassing the first two movies' takes and setting a record for August openings.

"We're riding really high today," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal Pictures, which put out the film. "The reviews and audiences rated this one the best one yet."

Its 2004 predecessor The Bourne Supremacy earned $52.5 million in its opening weekend, while the series opener, 2002's The Bourne Identity, opened at $27.1 million.

Universal's research showed that more than 90 percent of the opening weekend audience had seen the previous two Bourne films. Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers, said "The Bourne franchise just keeps getting better with age. The consistency of quality has always been there with the Bourne movies. That builds loyalty among viewers."

The Paul Greengrass-directed espionage movie pushed last week's champ The Simpsons Movie to second place at $25.6 million. It has topped $315 million worldwide for distributor Twentieth Century Fox.

This weekend's Top 12 films earned a healthy 36 percent more than the top 12 at this time last year. So far this year, box office is up six percent with revenues of $6.073 billion, while attendance has risen 1.42 percent.